Gulf Air is currently in the process replacing its aircraft operating on various Indian destinations with Airbus 320 Neos and Airbus 321 Neos, the chief executive of the airline has said.
“We are currently expanding our fleet with A321 Neos, A320 Neos and Boeing Dreamliners and we will be deploying these aircraft in our services to various Indian cities,” Kresimir Kucko, CEO of Gulf Air, told Arabian Business in an interview.
“We will also be occasionally deploying Boeing Dreamiliners on some of our routes in India. We cannot operate Dreamliners on the Indian routes on regular basis because of the capacity restrictions under bilateral rights with India,” Kucko added.
The Bahrain flagship carrier operates 82 weekly flights to 8 Indian cities. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin, Calicut, Trivandrum and Kolkota are the Indian airports it operate direct fights.
Gulf Air, which has A330s, A320s and 321 ERs in its fleet, has been introducing its new A320 Neos, A321 Neos and Boeing Dreamliners to various routes in its network, sister publication Arabian Business reported.
“The fleet renewal is expected to be completed by 2023,” Kucko said.
Kucko said with Gulf Air adding more new international destinations such as Milan, New York and Mykonos (Greece), the carrier expected more Indian travellers to use its flights for their onward journey to Europe and the US.
Gulf Air officials said the carrier also wanted to expand its operations in India to more cities and is currently awaiting approvals from the Indian aviation authorities.
Kannur in Kerala is among the new airports Gulf Air wants to start direct services to from its hub in Bahrain.
It is also keen to expand its cargo operations from India but is constrained due to the capacity restrictions under the bilateral rights.
Gulf Air executives said there was a meeting between Bahrain and Indian civil aviation authorities recently but no decision was taken on expansion of capacities between the two countries.
Gulf Air, which has a strong cargo operations network to Europe and Africa, hope that its proposed partnership with the Indian budget airline SpiceJet will help it to carry more cargo from India to various destinations in Europe, Africa and other regions, besides enabling its passengers to fly to more destinations in India.
Gulf Air and SpiceJet signed a memorandum of understanding recently in Delhi for exploring possibilities for greater cooperation between the two carriers.