Passengers currently enjoying the fully-flat beds and suites on Gulf Air’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft should not get too comfortable. The carrier will not be extending the wet lease of four aircraft from Jet Airways once the current six-month agreement expires.
These aircraft were originally destined to join Jet’s fleet, and are fitted with the Indian carrier’s luxurious first class suites and fully-flat beds in business. Gulf Air took the planes on a wet-lease agreement earlier this year (see online news January 13, February 11 and March 5), and it had been widely reported that this agreement would be extended into a long-term dry lease.
However Gulf Air stresses that while this was an option for the carrier, a dry lease had never actually been agreed. In a statement the airline said:
“The lease agreement signed between Jet Airways and Gulf Air was for an initial period of 6 months on a wet lease. Some coverage has claimed that the decision to continue with a dry lease after the 6 month wet lease has been cancelled. This is not correct as no such agreement existed.
“Under the terms of the current agreement Gulf Air has an option to sign a new agreement for a dry lease after the expiration of the wet lease but this was subject to several business considerations including market conditions. After careful analysis of various commercial and other business considerations, Gulf Air has decided not pursue the dry lease option for the foreseeable future.”
Last year Gulf Air announced that it had commissioned James Park Associates (designers of the business class seating on Singapore Airlines’ A380) to revamp its seating product, interiors, livery, uniforms and lounges, with the process due to take up to two years (see online news April 11, 2008).
For more information visit gulfair.com.
Report by Mark Caswell