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Wed 11 Nov 2009 11:06 AM

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Gulf Air expects $500m loss in 2009 - paper

Loss figure presented by the state owned Bahraini carrier to parliament.

Bahrain's state-owned carrier Gulf Air expects to post a loss of BD189m ($501m) this year, a member of Bahrain's parliament said in remarks published on Wednesday.A report in the Gulf Daily News said the figure was presented by the ailing carrier to parliament on Tuesday, citing Abduljalil Khalil, a member of parliament.

The company has been in a restructuring with lay-offs and closures of routes since 2002.

Gulf Air could not immediately be reached for comment. Khalil was cited by the newspaper as saying the company has presented a three-year rescue plan to parliament which includes more job cuts.

He said the plan had been drafted by the carrier's Chief Executive Samer Majali who joined the company in August.

Airlines in the Gulf Arab region saw strong growth before the global economic crisis as they gained market shares in air traffic connecting Asia and Europe.

But Gulf Air had to close a second company hub in Oman as previous shareholders Oman, Abu Dhabi and Qatar gave up their stakes, partially to establish their own airlines. ($1=.3769 Bahraini Dinar)

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