Gulf Air abandons ‘Get Well Programme’ with big-spending plan
The carrier had entered a dramatic restructure phase earlier in the year under previous CEO, Andre Dose, although that “Get Well Programme” has been replaced with a development agenda involving the expansion of its fleet to around 50 aircraft over the next decade. Gulf Air is also considering orders from Boeing and Airbus, having abandoned its earlier policy of an exclusively Airbus fleet.
It is by no means an expansion on the scale of Emirates, Etihad or Qatar Airways, but should keep Gulf Air on a similar development path to smaller established carriers like Royal Jordanian (now a oneworld member) and EgyptAir (to become a member of Star Alliance).
The second tier carriers in the Middle East are evolving as prospective partners for the global alliances, as the region’s “big three” apparently chart independent courses outside the alliances fold. Another good prospect for alliance membership in the region is Oman Air, which is quickly expanding its short-haul network, as well as building a long-haul capability to London and Bangkok initially, with multiple European and Asian destinations planned in a second phase.
Meanwhile, the Gulf Air re-expansion will intensify the emerging role of Middle East airlines on the global scene.
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