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Gulf Air makes the French connection

Posted 23 March 2020 · Add Comment

Gulf Air is increasingly looking towards France as it continues a modernisation process. Steve Nichols reports.

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, signed a number of agreements with French-based companies during His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s recent visit to France.
Thales announced that the carrier had chosen Inmarsat GX Ka-band connectivity solution for its Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A32 NEO-E (LR) aircraft.
Gulf Air also chose Michelin to equip every aircraft type within its fleet with tyres, including its brand new fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, Airbus 320neos and Airbus 321neos.
It also finalised an agreement with CFM for the purchase of 65 LEAP-1A engines to power 17 Airbus A320neo and 12 A321neo aircraft. The engine order is valued at approximately $1 billion at list price.
The airline also signed an agreement with Safran to equip its new fleet of 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 12 Airbus A320neos with Safran landing systems wheels and brakes.
Finally, it entrusted maintenance of the APS5000 auxiliary power units (APU) equipping the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to AFI KLM Engineering and Maintenance (E&M).
The long-term contract includes a guarantee covering APU replacement. The repair services will be provided by AFI KLM E&M subsidiary, EPCOR.
Over the years, Gulf Air has worked closely with Thales to support its strategic growth plans to elevate the customer experience. The airline says the new connectivity deal is important because it needs to respond to evolving needs and aspirations of its passengers for a modern travel experience.
At the signing ceremony Krešimir Kucko, chief executive officer, Gulf Air, said: “We are proud to announce our partnership with Thales once again for the on-board connectivity project.
“Back in 2016 we selected the AVANT in-flight entertainment (IFE) system for our yet-to-receive orders of new aircraft and, today, we complement this partnership with Thales for another product – all to elevate the customer experience during the flight.”
The airline selected the AVANT IFE system for its complete fleet renewal programme. With the pairing of Thales’ IFE and global connectivity solutions, Gulf Air’s passengers will enjoy a unique and engaging experience.
Thales will deliver the highest performing connectivity service on the market, providing a complete end-to-end connectivity solution. Through the connectivity portal and on-board Wi-Fi network, passengers can browse the internet, check social media, shop, and much more during their flights.
Thales’ Ka-band connectivity solution leverages the Inmarsat Global Xpress satellite network. According to the company, it is designed as a robust, modular and full-featured platform for a best-in-class on-board experience with reliable, seamless high-speed global coverage.
AVANT offers a highly customisable passenger experience with full high-definition displays and a wide selection of features and applications.
Philippe Carette, chief executive officer, Thales InFlyt Experience, said: “Thales is proud to be a long-term partner with Gulf Air in their goal of excellence in passenger experience.
“It is an honour to equip Bahrain’s national carrier with our connectivity solution and the AVANT high-performing IFE system on board their newest aircraft. Thales is committed to support Gulf Air in driving innovations and the highest standards in passenger engagement.”
Thales generated revenues of €19 billion ($20.81bn) in 2018 and has 80,000 employees in 68 countries.
The contact signing ceremonies took place during a business lunch organised by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and the MEDEF, France’s main organisation of business owners.
Gulf Air operates double daily flights or more to 10 regional cities, in addition to select destinations in the Indian subcontinent and Europe, from its hub at Bahrain International Airport.

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