Bahrain reaffirms Gulf Air backing
Manama, April 6, 2012
Reports that Gulf Air, the national airline of Bahrain, will close down have been denied by a senior government official, saying the government's stance towards the future of the airline is clear and has any room for interpretation.
Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa cited the draft law submitted to the legislature seeking an additional credit line in the budget to pump BD664.3 million ($1.76 billion) to boost the airline’s capital.
'The aim is to empower the national carrier to continue to exist and overcome the challenges it is now facing,' he said.
In a statement, he reaffirmed the ministry's commitment to the government's official stance.
'Our mission consists essentially in conveying the government's stance and to reveal its details,' he said, stressing a drive to reach out to the National Assembly on the issue in co-ordination with Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company.
Shaikh Ahmed said there are constant communications with the legislature regarding the future of the airline.
He said a proposal was made by consultants appointed by Mumtalakat on options to either retain the company's structure and status, or to liquidate it, or to tentatively halt operations for a short while and then resume operations after restructuring its workforce, or to delimit the company's commercial routes and partially or entirely resize its aircraft fleet.
The only mention of the company's probable shutdown was in the context of alternatives which were proposed by Mumtalakat-appointed consultants, he said. The government after studying the proposals passed a resolution to support Gulf Air's continuation and to boost its capital in recognition of the role played by the aviation sector in supporting the economy, and the direct or indirect provision of job opportunities for Bahraini citizens.
The minister said a diversity of viewpoints on issues is a healthy phenomenon and what matters is ultimate concurrence on the most optimum action.
Therefore, interaction continues between the executive and legislative authorities regarding the national carrier to reach the most perfect formula, Shaikh Ahmed added. – TradeArabia News Service