Gulf Air focuses on A330s for near-term fleet growth

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With Gulf Air not expecting its first Boeing 787s to arrive until at least 2016, the airline is focusing on its efforts on developing its Airbus A330 fleet.

The Bahraini flag carrier operates six A330-200s and will take three ex-Middle East Airlines A330-200s next year on eight-year operating leases from International Lease Finance.

The carrier is seeking four additional A330s as an interim replacement for some of its A340-300s, and sent a request for proposals to lessors earlier this year. "We have offers on the table and we will announce our decision next month," says Gulf Air chief strategy officer Tero Taskila.

gulf air a330-200 keith blinkow/airteamimages.com
 © Keith Blinkow/AirTeamImages.com

Gulf Air has orders for 20 A330-300s and 24 787s. The latter will be the core of its future widebody fleet, with the A330s being taken as bridge aircraft. Taskila says Gulf Air is hoping to take four A330s on six- to eight- year operating leases but lessors are now offering 10-year leases.

Gulf Air has a growth requirement of three-to-four widebodies a year during the next five years as it growing its network from 43 destinations to 60 by 2013.