Gulf Air (GF, Bahrain Int'l) has confirmed it will take delivery of its first A321-200neo in June this year, as the initial schedule for the new variant becomes clearer. One destination from Bahrain Int'l which will feature the new type will be the new 2x weekly service to Nice, that will be launched on July 2 using the 166-seat aircraft, according to a press release issued by the airline on January 15.

The Bahraini airline has eight A321neo and nine A321neo(XLR)s on order from Airbus, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module. Gulf Air accepted its maiden A320neo A9C-TA (msn 8323) into its fleet in August last year. It now has five of the variant in operation, working alongside its sixteen A320-200s, six A321-200s, a single A330-200, and seven B787-9s.

Referring to the airline's website, the new French city pair will be operated via Milan Malpensa until the end of August - the Italian route will only have been launched on July 1. An airline spokesperson also confirmed that there will be no further route announcements from the carrier for the upcoming season: "no this is it for Summer 2020."

ch-aviation analysis of the airline's schedule data shows Gulf Air will deploy the A321neo on the following routes out of Bahrain:

  • Athens Int'l - starts June 15, but the type is currently scheduled to only operate to the Greek capital until June 27;
  • Milan Malpensa - up to daily starting July 1;
  • Riyadh - up to 3x weekly starting July 1;
  • Nice - 2x weekly starting July 2;
  • Dubai Int'l - up to 6x weekly starting August 14;
  • Paris CDG - daily starting October 15.

Talking about the network expansion to Nice at the Kuwait Aviation Show 2020, Gulf Air's Chairman Zayed R. Alzayani said: “It is very exciting for our national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain to reach further places and connect multiple cities in the East and the West to its hub, Bahrain.”

He also added: “On the western side of our network map, and coinciding with our expansion in Europe in summer 2020, we will launch flights to Nice as a boutique destination catering to our premium leisure travellers. As we welcome our new A321neo...we will serve our European routes with a brand new aircraft featuring flat-beds and superior in-flight entertainment system for more enjoyable journeys with Gulf Air.” In terms of other destinations, Gulf Air serves in France, the airline currently operates a daily A320 service to Paris CDG.

Recently the airline also announced plans to operate flights to Mykonos and Munich as seasonal destinations with both city pairs starting in summer 2020.