Gulf Air Orders 19 Airbus Aircraft

January 22, 2016

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Gulf Air has ordered 19 new Airbus A320neo-family aircraft a day after upgrading a 16-aircraft Boeing order, as it pushed ahead with plans to renew its fleet.

Bahrain's loss-making national carrier placed an order for 17 Airbus A321neo and two A320neo aircraft, building on an existing order for 10 A320neos, worth a combined USD$3.4 billion.

It also converted a previous 16 787-8 order from Boeing to 787-9s. Gulf Air said it anticipates delivery to start from the second quarter of 2018.

Gulf Air's orders are likely to be the only significant commercial announcement at the Bahrain Airshow.

To purchase the aircraft, Gulf Air plans an equal split between financing and lease-buy-back structures.

"We're looking at all financing options in the market to keep a healthy balance sheet," Gulf Air chief financial officer Sahar Ataei said.

"We are also seeking international financial advisers' assistance in this area to look at our financing strategy."

The company is also looking to conclude contract details with Bombardier for its 110-seat CS100 aircraft, Chief Executive Maher al-Musallam said.

Gulf Air in June 2011 placed an order for 10 CS100s with options for another six.

The company has gone through a lengthy restructuring. It reported an annual loss of BHD62.7 million dinars (USD$166.3 million) for 2014 from a loss of BHD93.3 million in 2013.