New Gulf Air board warns of tough restructuring decisions

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Middle Eastern carrier Gulf Air is warning that hard strategic decisions will need to be made at the airline following the government's approval of a capital injection.

The Bahraini government is appointing a new board of directors and forming a committee charged with monitoring the loss-making carrier's restructuring programme and monitoring the way it spends the funds.

Bahraini investment organisation Mumtalakat's board will take the role of Gulf Air's board of directors, led by chairman and deputy prime minister Sheikh Khaled bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.

Gulf Air says the new board recognises that "some tough decisions and choices" need to be made in the short term to "ensure the long-term sustainability" of the carrier.

The board will create an executive restructuring committee to oversee the strategy being put in place by the carrier's management.

Gulf Air has been cutting back on long-haul aircraft orders and reshaping the airline's network to offer high-frequency connections on core routes using smaller jets.

The committee will also keep a check on spending after the Bahraini king granted BD185 million in funds to the carrier.

Gulf Air says the board is also setting up an audit committee and governance committee as part of the oversight process.

Among the new board members for the airline are the kingdom's minister of finance, transport minister and Mumtalakat's chief executive.