DUBAI Feb 12 Small carrier Bahrain Air said on
Tuesday it was shutting down, blaming political unrest in the
island kingdom and the government's refusal to pay it
The privately owned airline, launched in 2008, has four
planes and was flying to about a dozen destinations in the
Middle East and south Asia.
It struggled to compete with Bahrain's larger flag carrier,
Gulf Air, and low-cost airlines in the region.
Bahrain Air's business was hurt by pro-democracy protests
that erupted in Bahrain two years ago, and although the
government crushed those protests, scattered unrest has
continued, weighing on the travel and tourism industries.
The airline said the government had broken a pledge to
compensate it for the unrest and was now requiring it to make
immediate payments on debts to the state, while the Ministry of
Transportation was ordering it to cut back operations.
This caused a shareholders' meeting to decide that Bahrain
Air would immediately suspend operations and file for
liquidation under local law, the company said in a statement on
Officials at the Ministry of Transportation could not be
contacted for comment on Tuesday night.
The minister of transportation, Kamal Ahmed, is a board
member of Gulf Air, which has itself been struggling
financially. Last November it cut its orders for new planes to
shrink its debt.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia and Praveen Menon; Editing by