Move aimed at reducing long-term liability and meeting future strategic needs
Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, on Monday said that after extensive negotiations with Airbus and Boeing – its two key suppliers of wide-body and narrow-body aircraft – it has signed amendment agreements with both aircraft manufacturers to realign its original orders to meet its long-term strategic needs.
During 2011, Gulf Air engaged in extensive discussions with both airframe manufactures to renegotiate its order book. 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.
The revised agreement with Airbus ultimately permits the conversion of the existing wide-body obligation into eight A320ceo Family aircraft, all of which will have be delivered by year-end, plus up to sixteen A320neo Family aircraft 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.
The revised Boeing agreement, allows the airline to reduce its wide-body 787s Dreamliner requirement to 12-16 aircraft depending on Gulf Air’s strategic requirements. These aircraft are scheduled for delivery towards the end of the decade and will replace Gulf Air’s current wide-body fleet.
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’s directive to put the airline firmly on a path towards sustainability. The revised orders reduce our long-term financial liability of approximately US$ 5 billion by over 50% and the remaining liability more effectively meets Gulf Air’s future fleet replacement and/or growth requirement.”
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 cooperated 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.”