Bahrain Air files for liquidation

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Bahrain Air has suspended operations and filed for voluntary liquidation, according to a statement posted on its website on 12 February.

The decision follows a public dispute with Bahrain's transport ministry, which was refusing to renew the airline's operating licence until overdue departure taxes were paid.

Bahrain Air had accused transport minister Kamal Ahmed of having a conflict of interest, citing his position on the board of rival Bahraini flag carrier Gulf Air.

It had also held the Bahraini government ultimately responsible for its weak financial situation, arguing that flight restrictions to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon during the Arab Spring had hindered operations.

"The shareholders of the company have spared no effort to support the airline financially since its inception and to support the airline and Bahrain through the unrest in 2011," Bahrain Air says.

"The airline has also spared no effort to negotiate a solution with the minister of transportation, who is also an active board member of Gulf Air. However, he has shown no inclination to provide a meaningful solution.

"Given the position of the minister, the shareholders decided that [they] had no option but to discontinue financial support and put the company into voluntary liquidation."

Bahrain Air operated a fleet of four Airbus A320-family aircraft from its two hubs in Bahrain and Dammam, Saudi Arabia.