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Gulf Air formalises deal with Boeing for the purchase of B787 Dreamliners

Following the recent announcement of a major decision to purchase 16 Boeing Dreamliners with an option for another eight, Gulf Air has finalised the deal at a historic ceremony in Washington D.C. on 6 March 2008. The ceremony, celebrating the U.S. – Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Contract for the 787 Dreamliner Aircraft between the Boeing Company and Gulf Air, was held under the auspices of US-Bahrain Business Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Gulf Air Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Mahmood Al Kooheji and President and Chief Executive Mr. Bjorn Naf attended the high-profile event, graced by members of the US Congress, diplomats, senior bureaucrats and VIPs from the US trade and business.

“This signing ceremony marks yet another milestone in the historic friendship between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States of America,” said Mr. Al Kooheji after signing the agreement.

“The US has become a major trade partner since the signing of FTA between the US and the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2004. In 2006, trade volume between the US and Bahrain rose to US$ 1.5 billion. This reflects the incentives provided by the FTA and the Kingdom’s strategic commitment to opening markets and expanding opportunities for Bahraini businesses.”

“I am delighted to have played a part in this growing trade relationship with the signing of the agreement to purchase 16 Boeing Dreamliners valued at US$ 6 billion. I personally see a great market expansion from this contract that can only boost further trade volumes,” Mr. Al Kooheji concluded.

Attending the function were Honorable Gregory W. Meeks and Honorable Joseph Crowley Members of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives, Honorable Christopher A. Padilla, Under Secretary for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce, Dr. Naser M. Y. Al Belooshi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States, Mr. Martin A. Bentrott, Vice President-Middle East & Africa Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes,  and LTG (Ret.) Daniel W. Christman, Senior Vice President for International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“The Middle East aviation industry is leading the world with a healthy 18.8 per cent growth in passenger traffic during the first 11 months of 2007, well above the global average growth rate of 7.5 per cent,” said Mr. Naf, adding, “It is only expected to grow much stronger in coming years.”

“Gulf Air, as a fully owned Bahraini company, together with the strong support by the government, is moving forward with a new strategy to re-fleet and expand its network and, strengthen further its presence as one of the leading players in the Middle East. The contract with Boeing Company is a clear indication of this strategy,” concluded Mr. Naf.

Mr. Al Kooheji and Mr. Naf thanked the hosts, the members of the US-Bahrain Business Council, the Members of the U.S. Middle East Free Trade Coalition, members of the National U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce, the US Ambassador to Bahrain, His Excellency Adam Ereli, the Bahrain Ambassador to the U.S. His Excellency Dr. Naser Al Belooshi and others involved for their assistance in facilitating the contract.