Airlines around the world have delayed deliveries and canceled orders, expecting a years-long recovery from the fallout from the pandemic that has hit global travel demand.
The state-owned Gulf Air expects to delay the delivery of the Airbus A320-Neo aircraft to 2022, although it hopes to receive at least three of the larger A321neo aircraft this year, Walid Abdel Hamid Al-Alawi, the company’s acting CEO, told Reuters.
He added that the company is also in talks with Boeing regarding a new delivery schedule for five 787-9 Dreamliners it has ordered, but it will receive some of it during the current year.
Airbus and Boeing declined to comment.
Unlike some other carriers, Gulf Air lacks a domestic flight market that could have mitigated the impact of international border closures.
The company currently operates flights to nearly half of its forty-nine destinations that it served before the outbreak of the pandemic, and expects to resume flights to all destinations by the end of 2023.
“We are very optimistic that the situation will improve and that we will occupy most of our fleet between now and the end of the year,” Al-Alawi said.
“We expect to weather the storm and emerge strong from it. We are very positive. It’s a matter of time, and there is no doubt that we will not exit the market.”
He expressed his hope that the availability of vaccines would help restore people’s confidence in travel.
The airline last year cut an undisclosed number of jobs and received, according to a government bond prospectus reviewed by Reuters, 36 million dinars ($ 95.6 million) from its government owner.
Gulf Air canceled an order for ten A220 aircraft, which it signed while the aircraft was named Class C from Bombardier.