By Neil Halligan
National carrier announces restructured orders from both Boeing and Airbus; first deliveries in 2018
Gulf Air, Bahrain''s national carrier, on Thursday announced restructured orders from both Boeing and Airbus, worth a total of $7.6 billion.
The Boeing order upgrades a previous 2008 order of 16 787-8 Dreamliners, for the larger 787-9, which will also offer greater range capability.
The new aircraft will replace Gulf Air's current wide-body fleet and provide future network expansion opportunities, the airline said.
The first aircraft in the order will be delivered at the beginning of April 2018, according to Acting CEO Maher Salman Al Musallam.
“Gulf Air has thought about this deal very carefully,” said Musallam, speaking at a press conference to announce the deal. “I am so glad to have partners in Boeing who helped in finalising a very important deal,” he added.
Marty Bentrott, vice president sales, Middle East, Russia & Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “I was here in 2008 when signed the original deal. We have continued to evolve our relationship and partnership and the 787 has continued to evolve and deliver amazing results into the marketplace.
“The dash-9 will have more seating capacity and more range capability for future destinations in their network. It's going to be a greater performer for the airline.”
Gulf Air also signed a $3.4bn deal for 29 Airbus aircraft in a restructured order with the French plane manufacturer.
The carrier has ordered 12 A320s and 17 A321s, all of which will be fitted with the fuel efficient neo engines.
The order is an upgrade of the a current Airbus order for 10 A330 in 2012. These will now be converted into new A320 order, making it a net increase of 18 on that order from four years ago.
Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier was in Bahrain at the international airshow to sign the deal for the aircraft, the first of which will be delivered in June 2018.
“I am sure that our choice of such great product will enhance the Gulf Air product. Airbus is a very well known to us; we are currently using 28 aircraft of the same type,” said Musallam.
“Neo is low cost, fuel efficient and also has the extra range. This will give Gulf Air the opportunity to operate new destinations at a lower cost,” he added.