Gulf Air leases two Embraer 170 aircraft
Manama, January 21, 2010
Bahrain's state-owned airline Gulf Air has leased two Embraer 170 planes from the Brazilian manufacturer as it aligns its fleet with its shift in focus to shorter routes.
"We're leasing two of them; they will help us with the regional strategy," chairman Talal al Zain told Reuters on Thursday on the sidelines of an industry event in Manama.
The loss-making airline plans to shift its order book from wide-body to narrow-body planes and regional jets as it changes its route network.
It was previously owned by several Gulf states but had to realign its network after Oman, Abu Dhabi and Qatar gave up their stakes, partly in order to establish their own airlines.
It plans to cancel 15 routes and open 20 new ones as part of a new strategy to increase traffic in the Middle East as it seeks a niche between regional low-cost airlines such as Air Arabia and Bahrain Air, and state-owned airlines of rich oil producers with large fleet expansion programmes.
The carrier expected to make an operating loss of $510 million in 2009. - Reuters
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