Gulf Air switches two 737-800s for A319s

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Gulf Air is amending its narrowbody aircraft fleet by replacing two Boeing 737-800s with a pair of Airbus A319-100s leased from International Lease Finance (ILFC).

"The 737-800s will operate their last revenue flight on 21st October," says Gulf Air's Chief Strategy Officer Tero Taskila in an interview with ATI sister publication Commercial Aviation online in Bahrain.

The 2003-vintage A319s are due to join the fleet in the next two days. "We will lease the A319s for a period of five years," adds Taskila.

The two Boeing 737-800 aircraft have been subleased from XL Germany since the beginning of the year.

Gulf Air operates a 29-aircraft fleet, including the two 737-800s, 10 Airbus A320-200s and two A321-200s. The airline plans to eventually operate a narrowbody fleet of 14 to 16 units.

Earlier this year, the airline signed an order with Airbus for 15 new A320-200s. Although no date has been announced as to when the carrier will take delivery of its new aircraft, Gulf Air is negotiating with Airbus on the timetable.

The current A320 fleet includes two owned aircraft and eight aircraft on lease from different lessors.

Gulf Air is currently in discussion with lessors regarding the leased aircraft.

"Four aircraft are scheduled to leave our fleet next year and we are working with lessors on the seamless transfer of the aircraft. We might extend some leases," he says.