Exclusive: Gulf Air denies media speculation
Bahraini flag-carrier Gulf Air has confirmed to LogisticsMiddleEast.com that it will return its four 777-200ER aircraft to Jet Airways after their six-month wet-lease concludes. Local media reports suggested that the carrier had gone back on a three-year dry-leasing agreement, which, it was claimed, would take place after the initial six months had ended.
However, Gulf Air has stated that no such agreement ever existed.
At the time of the deal, in February, Gulf Air CEO Bjorn Naf stated that the 777 arrangement would gradually replace the carrier's ageing A340 fleet. The decision is likely to reflect dropping capacity on the carrier's A340/777 routes.
Three of the aircraft have arrived and are servicing routes to London, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. The fourth, which arrives next month, will be used on flights to Manila.
"The lease agreement signed between Jet Airways and Gulf Air was for an initial period of six months on a wet lease. Some coverage has claimed that the decision to continue with a dry lease after the six-month wet lease has been cancelled. This is not correct as no such agreement existed," said a Gulf Air spokesperson, speaking to LogisticsMiddleEast.com.
"Under the terms of the current agreement Gulf Air has an option to sign a new agreement for a dry lease after the expiration of the wet lease but this was subject to several business considerations including market conditions. After careful analysis of various commercial and other business considerations, Gulf Air has decided not pursue the dry lease option for the foreseeable future," the spokesperson added.
Gulf Air is expanding routes and frequencies, and has also just exercised options on a further eight B787s. However, first deliveries for the 787 are not expected until mid-2010.