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Kuwait Airways heads into expansion phase

The Kuwait Airways is heading into expansion phase to include partnerships, following a restructuring plan which helped cut losses, said an executive at the state-owned airline.

The Chief Operating Officer at Kuwait Airways, Kamil al-Awadhi said that a huge plan of various fleet leases and purchases are planned until 2022, and the routes are being restructured to reduce operational costs.

Kuwait Airways is looking for partners that would give more access and passengers, with airlines being able to extend networks by selling tickets for flights operated by partners and vice versa.

With expanding fleet, the carrier recently included 50 flights. Now, it has about 32 aircrafts and is looking at long-haul destinations on all continents, as part of its growth plan.

Al-Awadhi said the expansion of flight network may include routes that will not only go through Kuwait, but, will fly between other countries, a practice that requires fifth-freedom rights. From the year 2018, it will be long-haul point-to-point, he said.

Kuwaiti authorities will next month negotiate bilateral ties for new routes, the airline will launch, he said.

Limited capacity at Kuwait International Airport has been a challenge for the carrier and its plans, but the national carrier will move to a dedicated terminal by April 2017 to support its growth over next five years, Al-Awadhi said.

Kuwait has announced plans for 1.312 billion dinars terminal which would increase airport capacity to 25mn passengers annually, but, it has been hit by delays following a re-tendering process.

Construction of the dedicated Kuwait Airways terminal, with capacity of four to six million passengers annually will begin next month. A long-debated privatization plan was stalled when the government revised plans to permit a strategic investor to purchase up to 35 percent of the airline.

The parliament is likely to arrive on a new plan in the coming months wherein the government would retain 75 percent while the rest would be for Kuwaiti nationals, airline employees and retirees.

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