Gulf Air revamps Boeing, Airbus fleet orders
Manama, November 12, 2012
Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air said it has signed key agreements with Airbus and Boeing to realign its original orders for wide-body and narrow-body aircraft for meeting its long-term strategic needs.
The revised agreement with Airbus permits the conversion of the existing wide-body obligation into eight A-320ceo Family aircraft which will be delivered by year-end. In addition to this, sixteen A320neo Family aircraft are slated to join the airline’s fleet as replacement and/or growth for the current single-aisle fleet in the latter part of the decade, said a statement.
As per the revised agreement with Boeing, Gulf Air will be permitted to reduce its wide-body 787s Dreamliner requirement to 12 – 16 aircraft depending on the Bahrain carrier’s strategic requirements, it said.
These aircraft are scheduled for delivery towards the end of the decade and will replace Gulf Air’s current wide-body fleet.
The Bahraini carrier said it had been engaged in extensive discussions with both its key suppliers of wide-body and narrow-body aircraft airframe manufactures to renegotiate its order book since last year.
This has become necessary in light of the tough economic conditions faced by the global aviation industry recently including high-fuel prices and a slump in air traffic as well as the regional developments over the last 15 months resulting in the forced suspension of a number of destinations impacting revenue, said the statement.
Commenting on the move, Gulf Air CEO Samer Majali said: "As long-standing trade partners, Airbus and Boeing have understood our challenges and I am delighted that we have arrived at mutually agreeable solutions in-line with the government directive to put the airline firmly on a path towards sustainability."
"The revised orders reduce our long-term financial liability of approximately $5 billion by over 50 per cent and the remaining liability more effectively meets Gulf Air’s future fleet replacement and/or growth requirement," Majali stated.
Marty Bentrott, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice president of sales for the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia said: "We appreciate the fact that as a commercial airline Gulf Air has to respond to the changing global aviation environment."
"The revised fleet requirement from Gulf Air reflects this and we are glad to have co-operated with Gulf Air to arrive at an amicable solution. Gulf Air remains a valued customer of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership," he added.-TradeArabia News Service