Gulf Air has introduced its maiden Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner into service. The newly delivered jet, A9C-FA (c/n 39996) made its commercial debut on the Bahrain to Jeddah route on May 1, barely four days after its handover to the carrier.
Gulf Air CEO Krešimir Kučko remarked: “Gulf Air’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service to and from Jeddah over the coming weeks will give our Saudi based travellers the chance to experience our new and enhanced offering, which is in addition to our attractive flight schedule, flexible and convenient travel proposition.”
The carrier said the aircraft – the first of five examples due for delivery this year – will be used initially on short-haul flights to Jeddah and, later, Dubai before its introduction onto the Bahrain-London/Heathrow link on June 15. This will be followed later in the year by Bahrain-Casablanca as more aircraft come online.
Commenting on the arrival of the new Boeing jet, Gulf Air Chairman Zayed R Alzayani added, “We are delighted to welcome our newest aircraft, a game-changer for the Kingdom’s national carrier that will not only elevate our product and service offering and passenger experience but will also allow us to expand our network in a strategic manner. This year will see us open eight new routes to Abha, Alexandria, Baku, Bangalore, Calicut, Casablanca, Sharm El Shaikh and Tabuk [growing its network to 49 cities in 26 countries]. With such expansion, we are creating growth opportunities within the Kingdom of Bahrain’s financial and tourism sectors amongst others. Going forward, every kind of traveller will be able to enjoy a state-of-the-art, modern, relaxing and memorable experience as Gulf Air’s new fleet will be outfitted with superior seats, inflight Entertainment and much more. We are looking forward to Gulf Air becoming an airline of choice, which is our strategic goal.”
Gulf Air is equipping its 787s with 282 seats in a two-class layout, consisting of 26 in Falcon Gold Class and 256 in economy, delivering what the airline said is a 32% increase in capacity over the Airbus widebodies they are replacing. The incoming aircraft are part of a wider-reaching fleet expansion programme under which the Bahrain-based carrier will add 39 new Boeing and Airbus jets. This also includes A320neos, the first two of which are due for delivery this year.