Bahrain's national carrier inks agreement with SMBC Aviation Capital for purchase and leaseback of Airbus planes
Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, and SMBC Aviation Capital, one of the world's largest aircraft leasing companies, have announced an agreement for the purchase and leaseback of six Airbus A320neo aircraft.
This is SMBC Aviation Capital’s first deal with Gulf Air and follows a competitive tender process, a statement said.
Delivery of Gulf Air’s Airbus A320neo aircraft commenced in August, the statement said, adding that the airline has orders for 39 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft with delivery having started in early 2018.
Gulf Air’s incoming fleet will also see by the end of 2018 the arrival of five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in addition to one Airbus A320neo aircraft.
The carrier has also launched six new destinations and expanded its network to serve 47 cities in 26 countries.
Gulf Air CEO, Krešimir Kucko, said: “We are delighted to begin a new relationship with SMBC Aviation Capital and successfully mark the financing of our six new A320neos as we diversify our financing relationship to support aircraft acquisition.
"The upcoming deliveries of our six new Airbus A320neo will support the airline’s network expansion plans while affording us flexibility in our fleet planning – allowing us to transport Gulf Air passengers more seamlessly across the Gulf Air network.”
Peter Barrett, CEO, SMBC Aviation Capital added: “We are very pleased to partner with Gulf Air to assist with the airline’s ambitious fleet expansion plans. As a new customer and our first entry into the kingdom of Bahrain, we look forward to working alongside Gulf Air for the coming years.”
SMBC Aviation Capital currently has 20 A320neos in its portfolio and an order book of 129 A320neos.