Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain – 15 November 2018: The Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, and SMBC Aviation Capital, one of the world's largest aircraft leasing companies, have today announced a six-aircraft agreement for the purchase and leaseback of six Airbus A320neo aircraft. This is SMBC Aviation Capital’s first deal with Gulf Air and follows a competitive tender process.
Delivery of Gulf Air’s Airbus A320neo aircraft commenced from August 2018. The airline currently serves all its destinations with a combination wide and narrow body fleet and has orders for 39 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft with delivery having commenced in early 2018. Gulf Air’s incoming fleet will see by end-2018 the arrival of 5 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in addition to 1 Airbus A320neo aircraft. Alongside this, in 2018 the airline continued to enhance its product and service offering, launched six new destinations and expanded its network to serve 47 cities in 26 countries.
Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer, Krešimir Kučko said, “We are delighted to begin a new relationship with SMBC Aviation Capital and successfully mark the financing of our six new A320neos as we diversify our financing relationship to support aircraft acquisition. These aircraft will allow us to greatly enhance our fleet, enabling us to deliver operational efficiency and an upgraded customer experience. The upcoming deliveries of our 6 new Airbus A320neo will support the airline’s network expansion plans while affording us flexibility in our fleet planning – allowing us to transport Gulf Air passengers more seamlessly across the Gulf Air network.”
Peter Barrett, CEO, SMBC Aviation Capital added, “We are very pleased to partner with Gulf Air to assist with the airline’s ambitious fleet expansion plans. The A320neo incorporates the latest in aviation technology to provide our airline customers with a more modern, fuel efficient aircraft. As a new customer and our first entry into the Kingdom of Bahrain, we look forward to working alongside Gulf Air for the coming years.”
SMBC Aviation Capital currently has 20 A320neos in its portfolio and an order book of 129 A320neos.