Bahrain Shura rejects $1.75bn Gulf Air bailout plan
Manama, December 25, 2012
An initial government request to inject BD664.3 million ($1.75 billion) into Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, has been officially rejected by the Shura Council, a report said.
Council members had delayed discussions on the airline’s bailout for seven months because of concerns over the government not presenting detailed plans on the spending process to the National Assembly, which consists of the council and parliament, according to the report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
The Cabinet unofficially withdrew the bailout request in October and replaced it with another deal to present the airline with BD185 million.
It appeared in October that parliament and the Shura Council would rubber stamp the cash injection, after the government outlined a major downsizing plan designed to reduce Gulf Air's losses from BD95 million to BD58 million a year by 2017.
However, the new bailout has been put on the backburner while parliament and the council focus on the national budget.
"We have to now focus on the national budget and see if something could be given to Gulf Air to help it continue and recover from losses," said the council's woman and child committee chairman Dr Abdulaziz Abul.
"The BD664.3 million was delayed for a reason and that's the absence of a detailed plan, which the government later provided demanding that we just present the airline with BD185 million. The members haven't agreed on the BD185 million too. It will have to be scrutinised further to ensure that money does not get squandered and is being spent on beneficial causes."
Financial and economic affairs committee vice-chairman MP Abdulhakeem Al Shammeri said the airline's future would be discussed "soon". – TradeArabia News Service
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