Kuwait's Jazeera eyes new aircraft deals in 2014

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Marwan Boodai, chairman of Jazeera Airways.

Marwan Boodai, chairman of Jazeera Airways.

Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways is planning to buy new aircraft in 2014, its chairman confirmed to Arabian Business.

To date, the carrier has taken delivery of 13 Airbus A320s since 2005, as part of an order for 15 aircraft. The two remaining aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in October 2013 and May 2014 and the airline will then look to purchase more jets in order to push its fleet size above 20 aircraft.

“Jazeera as a group is expanding but not reducing any number of aircraft. We still need to reach what we call the 20 plus aircraft which will give us a good size in the leasing market,” said Jazeera Airways Group chairman Marwan Boodai. New aircraft orders are “going to be in the second half of 2014,” he confirmed.

Last month, the airline announced it had secured funding worth $90m for future aircraft purchases with the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and DVB Bank. The loan, which has a 12-year term, aims to fund the purchase of three new Airbus A320 aircraft, one of which was delivered earlier this month.

Boodai said the airline would not need more financing for new orders as it had a healthy cash balance on its books.

“This financing trance will take us up to the last aircraft on order right now... Above that we have cash on our balance sheet of about $130m, that’s more than our paid up capital so for the time being Jazeera is cash rich and we don’t see any further financing for the foreseeable future before our next aircraft purchases,” he said.

The airline more than tripled its net profit in the first quarter of 2013, reporting its best Q1 performance on record. Revenue of KD14.7m ($51.4m) represented a 15.7 percent increase compared to Q1 last year while net profit rose to KD3.6m, up 229.4 percent.

The company's outlook for 2013 continues to be positive. The company's forecasts remain unchanged and expect a mild second quarter, a seasonal increase in demand in the third quarter, and a mild fourth quarter to close the year.

“Originally our strategic master plan was launched in 2012 and we targeted double digit growth, we achieved that last year and we are going to exceed that this year and the first quarter we had 230 percent... Don’t expect the same for the full year as it was exceptional for the first quarter, but we do see a double digit growth all the way through to the end of the year aswell as for 2014,” Boodai said.

“High consumer demand in Kuwait and higher disposable income, we would witness that demand surging. Up until 2014 we are going for double digit growth annually,” he added.

Jazeera Airways is based in Kuwait and operates a network including Dubai, Bahrain, Beirut, Alexandria, Amman, Istanbul, Sharm El Sheikh, Assiut, Luxor, Mashhad, Sohag, Jeddah, Riyadh, Cairo and Al Najaf.

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