Kuwait Airways expects to carry up to five million passengers this year: Chairman
KUWAIT: In preparation for the projected increase in the number of passengers, the first delivery of 15-aircraft Airbus A320neo aircrafts ordered by Kuwait’s flag carrier Kuwait Airways has finally arrived from Hamburg Germany on Saturday at Kuwait International Airport. The newest addition to Kuwait Airways’ fleet of Airbus planes is just the start, as the airline braces to receive a total of 28 Airbus planes of different types by 2026.
Kuwait Airways Board Chairman Youssef Al-Jassem said in statement that the carrier was keen on increasing its fleet as the number of passengers carried by the state-owned airline could reach five million this year. Speaking during a press conference following the arrival of the Airbus 320neo aircraft, Jassem said the new plane, named ‘Kathemah,’ would start its first flights in the coming few days. “This is only the beginning of deliveries out from 15 320neo aircrafts we ordered from Airbus. Airbus would also deliver eight A330 and five A350, raising Kuwait Airways fleet to 38 by 2026,” he added. The carrier already has 10 Boeing 777-300 ER planes.
Jassem said that the new plane includes state-of-the-art technology and is known for its efficient fuel consumption. The new aircraft, added Jassem, would further contribute to safety of passengers and commitment to timetables. Jassem further explained that Kuwait Airways was using loans to purchase aircrafts, not taking money from the company’s $1.2 billion capital, noting that Kuwait Airways’ expenditures emanated from KD 390 million ($1.2 billion) proceeds generated by operations.
Kuwait Airways was established in 1953 as a private company under the name of ‘Kuwait National Airlines Limited.’ The government of Kuwait acquired 100 percent ownership in 1962. “Whoever did not try our services in Kuwait Airways, they must try it now, because we promise that they will enjoy the hospitality and the best service ever,” Jassem pointed out. “We are already recognized and we received citation from international bodies as the best airline that normally follows on-flight-schedule. We are always on time.”
The new fleet arrived with the delegation from Kuwait Airways and media personalities. “We are witnessing leaps in numbers of passengers, and we expect the number to be around five million passengers by end of this year,” Jassem added. He said the development of Kuwait Airways’ fleet was in line with the company’s strategy to provide the best services for passengers.
Seating 134 passengers, this jetliner is the first of 15 A320neo aircrafts that will join Kuwait Airways’ fleet in addition to 13 aircraft of other Airbus versions. As part of a plan to modernize its fleet, Kuwait Airways signed a contract with Airbus on December 2, 2013 to acquire 15 A320neo and 10 A350 XWB aircraft, in addition to leasing 12 planes of A320neo and A330 types pending the delivery of the new planes. On October 15, 2018, Kuwait Airways signed a new contract with Airbus to acquire eight jetliners of A330-800 type, which has a capacity of 220 to 260 passengers. Kuwait Airways’ modernization plan will culminate in the expansion of its new fleet to 38 jetliners in 2026.
By Ben Garcia