MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain took full ownership of Gulf Air on Saturday as joint-owner Oman withdrew from the loss-making carrier, the company’s vice-chairman said.
“Gulf Air is now 100 percent Bahraini,” Mahmood al-Kooheji told Reuters. “Today, we had an EGM (extraordinary general meeting) and the handover took place.”
“There is a committee evaluating how much each party is to be receiving or paying … The committee has been given a maximum of six months but we think it will be (finished) much earlier,” he said.
Gulf Air said last month it would shed 25 percent of its workforce, or about 1,500 jobs, to cut losses of more than $1 million a day and launched a two-year restructuring plan that includes a cash injection of 310 million dinars ($822 million).
The plan was announced after Bahrain said it was aiming to own the whole airline, which is based in the small island kingdom.
From the 1970s, Gulf Air was the joint carrier of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, but Gulf Arab states have increasingly moved towards creating their own national carriers.
Oman’s government is increasing its stake in Oman Aviation Services, which operates Oman Air. The parent company recently approved a plan to nearly quadruple its capital to 50 million rials ($130 million) through a placement by Oman’s government to expand operations and acquire new planes.