Three A340s join GF's fleet

Gulf Air has increased the size of its fleet from 33 to 36 aircraft, by leasing three Airbus A340-300s from Boeing Capital. The three aircraft raise the total number of A340s in the Gulf Air fleet to 10.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  November 12, 2003

Gulf Air has increased the size of its fleet from 33 to 36 aircraft, by leasing three Airbus A340-300s from Boeing Capital. The three aircraft, one of which rolled of the production line in Toulouse at the end of last month, raise the total number of A340s in the Gulf Air fleet to 10.

“The three aircraft will enter service early next year to meet the increasing requirements of our network and our commitment to daily frequencies,” explains GF’s president & chief executive, James Hogan.

“With record results in the third quarter, we are lining up for a strong close to the year, and are well placed to move into the next phase of our network and fleet expansion during the second year of our restructuring programme,” he adds. “Although the post-SARS recovery has been better than expected, the market still favours buyers, and we have been able to leverage these conditions to negotiate agreements on very good terms.”

This latest agreement follows a leasing acquisition signed with Boeing in July, which added two new A340s and an A320 to the airline’s fleet. “The expansion of our fleet is a vital part of Gulf Air’s restructuring strategy which aims to double the fleet to 60 aircraft by 2009,” says Hogan.

GF’s expansion is proceeding with due diligence and it has conducted a careful fleet requirement analysis. A detailed request for information sent out in July has also brought in responses from all the major aircraft and engine manufacturers, including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer, which are expected to submit further proposals in the coming months.

“Our increasing network and expanding fleet in addition to benefiting our customers, also offers new opportunities for the growing number of Gulf national pilots employed by the airline,” comments Captain Hameed Ali, vice president of operations at Gulf Air. “We have already started a training programme which will prepare our pilots to operate the new aircraft.”

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