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Monday, September 6, 2010

Kuwait Airways Still Struggling

Once the darling of the Middle East, Kuwait Airways has more recently been usurped as the biggest airline in Kuwait by Jazeera Airways and faces further competition at home from Wataniya Airways - it has also continually laid blame to the Iraqi invasion as the source of its airline’s troubles.

But such excuses do not cover for the fact that the airline has been painfully slow to reinvigorate life into its ageing fleet and as a result, it has also fallen further behind its GCC rivals such as Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, not to mention the plethora of other non-Kuwaiti low cost airlines in the region and the much vaunted privatisation has yet to attract serious investors.

To a certain extent, years of mismanagement has been a big contributory factor in the way the airline has been run – Kuwait is not short of money and it is questionable as to why they struck a deal that then collapsed to get 787s from ALAFCO - particularly when Kuwait Airways owns a sizeable portion of ALAFCO.

Kuwait Airways was poised to take delivery of seven A320s last year and six 787s in 2012 and a further six in 2014.

Even buying directly from OEMs means that they are unlikely to see any new build jets before 2015 or 2016 depending on slot and capacity availability – the airline is truly behind the curve and with a virtual “mutiny” behind enacted by a large number of its pilots, Kuwait Airways looks like it will be struggling for years to come.

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