Gulf air cleared for take-off but reduces liability
Gulf Air has announced that in deference to government directives it has revised aircraft orders with Boeing and Airbus that reduce its long-term financial liability of approximately $5 billion by over 50 per cent.
In a statement yesterday, Gulf Air CEO Samer Majali said: "As long-standing trade partners, Airbus and Boeing have understood our challenges and we have arrived at mutually agreeable solutions to put the airline firmly on a path to sustainability." The remaining liability more effectively meets Gulf Air's future fleet replacement and/or growth requirement.
The airline said after extensive negotiations with the two key suppliers of wide-body and narrow-body aircraft it signed amendment agreements to realign its original orders to meet long-term strategic needs.
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 been 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.
During 2011 Gulf Air engaged in extensive discussions with both aircraft manufacturers 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 fifteen months resulting in the forced suspension of a number of destinations impacting revenue.