Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air has received six bids for the sale and leaseback of two Airbus A320s and six A321 aircraft.

The deal is being used by Gulf Air as a way to unlock some of the capital invested in its fleet and involves the carrier effectively selling off the planes to another investor, then renting them back.

The award is expected to be made in 2012. Gulf Air is focusing more on regional narrow-body aircraft, such as the A320 and A321. The airline is aiming to be profitable by 2013 and is expanding its fleet and network in line with the expansion of Bahrain International airport.

The bidders for the sale and leaseback deal include:

  • Alafco Aviation (local)
  • Pembroke/Standard Chartered Bank (US/UK)
  • CIT Aerospace (US)
  • Macquarie Aircraft Leasing (Dublin-based)
  • BBAM Aircraft Leasing and Management (Mena)
  • Novus Aviation (Switzerland)

Bahrain Airport Company (Bac) expects to invite prequalified companies to bid for the expansion of the passenger terminal at the airport in the first quarter of 2012 (MEED 23:10:11).

The contract covers the main works of the expansion, including extending and upgrading of the terminal building itself, the construction of new passenger lounges and baggage handling systems. Companies had a deadline of 12 October to submit prequalification documents. The planned expansion will increase the airport’s capacity to 12 million passengers a year from the current 4 million. In April 2010, France’s Aeroports de Paris Ingenierie (Adpi) won the contract to prepare the masterplan for the 30-year expansion of Bahrain airport.