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Bahrain Air reveals fleet development plans at airshow

Gulf airline in talks to purchase Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.
NEWS, Aviation

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While much of the attention at last week's Bahrain International Airshow was focused on Gulf Air, the kingdom’s second national carrier also made a splash at the three day event.

Bahrain Air, which follows a premium value model, had planned a grand unveil for its retrofitted aircraft with updated seat configurations and brand new in-flight entertainment systems in premium class. Unfortunately, the much-awaited launch had to be postponed due to a delivery delay with the first retrofitted aircraft.

Undeterred, one of the airline’s A320s was still a highlight of the flying and static displays, while various other developments were promoted to visitors, including new routes, proposed menu enhancements, and the forthcoming establishment of holiday and cargo divisions.

“Bahrain Air is continuously looking at ways to extend and improve our current offerings. While last year was difficult for all in the industry, traffic is expected to improve the year and we plan to launch six more destinations in 2012, subject to government approvals,” explained Richard Nuttal, who was recently appointed as Bahrain Air CEO. The executive has also expressed an interest in developing the carrier’s aircraft fleet, with rumours that the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ) is being considered, alongside Bombardier regional jets.

“The leases on our Airbus A319s are running out in two to three years, so we are looking at aircraft in the 100-130 seat range. Discussions are ongoing,” confirms Nuttal, adding that a purchase could be finalised as soon as March 2012, with deliveries in 2014-15.

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