New Pilots

Gulf Air Signs for 29 A320neo Family Jets

2016 01 21

Gulf Air thrust itself into the spotlight at the Bahrain International Airshow this week with an order for 17 AirbusA321neos and 12 A320neos. Long-term loss-maker Gulf Air expects to post its first profits in more than a decade when it announces its 2015 results in the spring. It said it expects the 29 new neos to “fit seamlessly” into its current fleet of 22 A320s and six A330-200s.  

Appearing at the show with Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier and Bahraini government officals, Gulf Air CEO Maher Salman Al Musallam alluded to plans to simplify the airline’s fleet structure with the order, which confirms and adds to a deal in 2012 calling for delivery of 10 A320neos.

“This restructured order meets Gulf Air’s future fleet requirement and our network expansion plans,” he said. “As a result, I now look forward to furthering Gulf Air’s fleet modernization process while supporting our network and overall passenger experience enhancement strategies.”

Gulf Air’s restructuring exercise began in 2012, when it effectively replaced an order for 20 A330s with a commitment for eight A320ceos and up to 16 A320neos and curbed aspirations to compete directly with Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways on long-haul services. Rather, it implemented a new plan to provide more service within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states with narrowbodies, including 10 Bombardier C Series jets over which it remains in negotiations.

Gulf Air’s long-haul plans now center on Boeing Dreamliners. Just before announcing the Airbus order, it said it converted delivery positions on sixteen 787-8s to larger 787-9s.

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