Bahrain is to buy Gulf Air, then privatise it, the government revealed yesterday.
It will initially buy 80 per cent of the airline, with the rest remaining with co-owner Oman, Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa told the Shura Council.
But the long-term aim is for Bahrain to buy the airline in its entirety, then privatise it, said Shaikh Ahmed.
"We are currently working to get an 80pc share of the company, with the possibility of owning it all, through our national holding company (Mumtalakat), so we can take proper decisions to implement our comprehensive strategic plans," he said.
"Whenever they are achieved, we will work to privatise the company as soon as possible, in line with our plans for economically-worthy sectors."
Shaikh Ahmed said Bahrain would be Gulf Air's main operations centre, serving the financial and commercial sector through increased flights to neighbouring countries.
"We have already assigned international consultancy firms to come forward with incisive plans to improve Gulf Air's status," he said.