The Bahraini national carrier has promoted Karimi to provide support for president and chief executive officer Bjorn Naf.

“When I was appointed, I told the board it would help if I had someone who understands the business and the culture here,” says Naf.

“We have a lot of alignment programmes as part of the strategic roadmap in the airline, which he is dealing with.

“At the moment we have a lot of work in maintenance to modernise so we can handle the additional workload we are planning for.”

Gulf Air announced in late September that it was planning to build a $50m maintenance facility at Bahrain International Airport, in partnership with the Bahrain Real Estate Company (Edamah).

The hangar, which will have capacity for three wide-body aircraft, is scheduled for completion by 2011 (MEED 29:9:08).

Karimi has been replaced as chief financial officer by Neil Canty, previously at Kenya Airways.