Gulf Air (GF, Bahrain Int'l) has signed a lease agreement with DAE Capital (DAE) involving five B787-9s due to enter the Bahraini carrier’s fleet next year. The airline plans to use the aircraft to facilitate future network development, it said.

“The incoming aircraft represent an important step in our strategic direction toward furthering Gulf Air’s fleet modernization process, enhancing passenger comfort and broadening our network as we look to strengthen our presence across the globe,” Gulf Air deputy CEO Waleed Abdulhameed, said in a statement.

Gulf Air currently operates sixteen A320-200s, six A321-200s, and six A330-200s on scheduled passenger flights to forty-two destinations across the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Europe, and Russia.

It also has sixteen B787-9s on direct order from Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare), the first of which is tentatively due to arrive in April 2018. Earlier this year, the carrier said a total of five B787-9s would be delivered by the end of 2018 with an additional two arriving by end-2019 and three by end-2020. The second batch of six will be delivered between 2023-24. They will gradually replace the A330s.

Gulf Air’s B787-9s will seat 282 in a two-class configuration; twenty-six in Falcon Gold Class and 256 in Economy Class.