Bahrain’s king OKs $491m in funding to Gulf Air

Airline will use the money "to pay our suppliers, to pay our debts and for restructuring,” says CEO
Bahrain’s king OKs $491m in funding to Gulf Air
Gulf Air
By Massoud A. Derhally
Mon 15 Oct 2012 07:33 PM

Gulf Air is set to restructure as King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa issued a royal decree today authorising the government to extend BHD185m (US$491m) to the carrier, the operator's CEO Samer Majali said in an interview with Arabian Business.

Once it obtains the funds, the Bahrain-based airline will use the money "to pay our suppliers, to pay our debts and for restructuring,” Majali said without giving further details.

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 BHD460m. The airline is "here to stay,” Majali said.

Though state-owned Gulf Air suffered losses in the wake of political unrest in the kingdom, passenger numbers increased 13 percent in the first half of the year, while seat load factors reached 77 percent, up five percent from the same period a year earlier.  

The carrier’s revenues for the first half of the year have increased six percent compared to the same period last year.

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