Bahrain gov't agrees new funds to prop up Gulf Air

Officials approve in principle additional money to help ailing national airline pay off debts
Gulf Air
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 08 Oct 2012 07:24 PM

Bahrain's government on Monday agreed in principle to supply additional funds to ailing national carrier Gulf Air so it can pay off debts.

A joint meeting between the government and the National Assembly reviewed the financial and administrative situation of the airline and agreed to continue to support it.

According to Bahrain News Agency, the meeting discussed "available alternatives to stop continuous losses incurred by the company".

Officials agreed on the need to prop up Gulf Air given its "importance regarding mainly economy, tourism and investment and essential role in promoting the kingdom's reputation at the regional and global levels".

The government requested the Shura and Representatives Councils to pump an additional fund into the airline but did not say how much.

Final approval of the fund will only be determined after the airline explains how it will spend it, BNA added.

Gulf Air said revenues for the first half of 2012 rose six percent compared to the same period last year.

The airline, which has suffered losses in the wake of political unrest in the tiny Gulf kingdom, also said passenger numbers increased by 13 percent for January to June while seat load factors reached 77 percent, up five percent on H1 2011.

The carrier has also achieved savings of BD6.8m between January and May as part of its plan to cut costs.

In January, a government delegation briefed parliament and called for a restructuring of the company for "effective operational requirements".

Reports at the time said the government was considering options including dissolving or shrinking the loss-making airline, or selling it and creating a new carrier at a cost of BD460m ($1.22bn).

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