Gulf Air yesterday retired its last Airbus A330 yesterday. The 20-year-old aircraft was the last of its type in the Gulf Air fleet, which now uses the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for long haul operations.
In March this year, Gulf Air will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its first flight. The flag carrier of Bahrain was originally founded in 1950. Now, 70 years later, another page of the history book has closed as the airline has stored its last Airbus A330 to be retired. The last aircraft has always been owned by Gulf Air, however, was once leased in its history.
The Airbus A330 that was retired yesterday was most recently registered as A9C-KE. According to Planespotters.net, the aircraft was first delivered to Gulf Air in May 2000. As a result, it is 19.8 years old. The A330 holds the manufacturer’s serial number 224 and was originally registered as A9O-KE.
Following just a year in service, the aircraft was leased out to TAM Linhas Aéreas in June of 2001. It remained with TAM for just over a year under the registration PT-MSD. In September 2002, it returned to Gulf Air. Then, in December 2007, the aircraft received its final registration, A9C-KE.
The Airbus A330 took its final flight with passengers on the 20th of January, just over a week ago. According to FlightRadar24.com, the last passenger rotation saw the aircraft flying to Dhaka and back from Bahrain.
GF250 departed from Bahrain at 20:58 on Sunday the 19th of January. This was 48 minutes behind schedule. However, the Gulf Air aircraft made up time on the flight with a flight time of four hours and eight minutes. It touched down at 04:06 the next day in Dhaka.
Following just over an hour on the ground, the aircraft took to the skies for its final passenger flight at 05:22. The Airbus A330 flew for 6-hours and 39-minutes, touching down in Bahrain for the final time at 09:01.
St Athan retirement
The aircraft has now been waved off from Bahrain for the final time. At 10:20 yesterday, the aircraft took off for its final resting place. The aircraft is being sent to St Athan in the United Kingdom.
Regular readers will know that the aircraft will have some good company, including one of the first Boeing 777 aircraft. Having flown almost 50 million miles, British Airways sent G-ZZZC to St Athan earlier this month. The aircraft’s final landing came at 14:31 local time yesterday.
Speaking of the aircraft’s farewell, Gulf Air’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Krešimir Kučko told Aviation Pros: “Today we bid farewell to one of our historic flagship jets. This Airbus 330 aircraft served the national carrier for almost 20 years and supported our growth during the last 2 decades”.
Have you flown on one of Gulf Air’s Airbus A330s? Will you miss them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!