The consultancy division of the Canada-based International Air Transport Association (IATA) has submitted the low bid for the technical consultancy contract on Bahrain flag carrier Gulf Air’s planned purchase of Airbus’ new engine option (neo) aircraft.

IATA bid low with a price of $40,250, while the US’ Seabury Group came up with the highest offer of $195,000.

Two other aviation consultancy groups, ICF SH&E, also of the US, and the UK’s International Bureau of Aviation (IBA), submitted offers valued at $54,000 and $63,500 respectively.

The winning bidder will assist Gulf Air in conducting a technical evaluation of the A320neo engines.

Bahrain’s national carrier recently restructured its $7.6bn aircraft order with France’s Airbus and the US’ Boeing, with the first deliveries expected in the second quarter of 2018. The orders are for 16 wide-body, two-aisle Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 29 narrow-body, single-aisle Airbus A320 and A320neos.

The A320neo offers two engine choices, both featuring the fuel-saving sharklets wingtip devices. These devices, along with an optimised passenger cabin, result in a per-seat fuel burning saving of 20 per cent, according to Airbus. The same features are understood to allow reduced engine noise and lower emissions.

However, the A320neo aircraft has been undergoing delays in terms of delivery.

Qatar Airways, which had signed up as an A320neo launch customer, cancelled its first order due to the plane manufacturer’s apparent failure to meet its contractual performance obligations.

Airbus and A320neo engine-maker United Technologies Corporation, a unit of the US’ Pratt & Whitney, are said to have struggled to meet required performance standards, resulting in delays. 

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