Gulf Air has taken delivery of the first of ten new airbus A320 aircraft, ordered to renew its fleet.

Powered by CFM56 engines, the new aircraft will carry 136 passengers in a two-class configuration up to a distance of 2,600nm at a speed of Mach 0.82.

Gulf Air chairman Talal Alzain was quoted by Gulf Daily as saying that by investing in the airline’s fleet now, it is securing the future of Gulf Air because with a modern, more efficient fleet it can lower its costs and deliver better service.

The carrier will receive one A320 aircraft a month from now until April 2010 and an additional two A320s in December 2010 to complete the first batch of A320 aircraft on order.

The new aircraft will replace Gulf Air’s older narrow-body aircraft, which are less fuel efficient and more expensive to maintain.

The airliners will be used to expand their Middle East network on important strategic and high-yielding routes such as their expansion into Iraq.