Gulf Air is to acquire its first regional jets, two leased Embraer 170s, as part of the ailing Bahrain flag-carrier's major revamp.

Under the three-year dry-lease, with provision to extend for a further five, Gulf Air will take delivery of the first aircraft in February.

The jets will be configured with seven business-class and 60 economy-class seats, with in-flight entertainment.

Gulf Embraer 170
 © Gulf Air

Confirming the initial agreement during the Bahrain Air Show today, Gulf Air chief Samer Majali said that the carrier would continue to carry out a "full analysis of all regional jets from Bombardier, Embraer and others" and "listen to feedback from our customers" with a view to placing a larger regional jet order.

"We see the long-term potential for up to 10 aircraft," he says.

Majali says the 170s will allow Gulf Air to increase frequencies around the Middle East and "test new markets with very little risk". He adds: "Our objective is to serve every Arab capital with at least a double-daily sevice."

He says Gulf Air is in "ongoing negotiations" with Airbus and Boeing over existing narrowbody and widebody orders.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news