Kuwaiti carrier Wataniya Airways preparing for comeback

The failed luxury airline is reportedly attempting to raise $85m to re-launch next year, after collapsing in 2011
By Courtney Trenwith
Thu 19 Jun 2014 10:51 AM

Failed Kuwaiti carrier Wataniya Airways is reportedly planning a comeback as soon as the first quarter of 2015.

The airline has begun efforts to re-launch by attempting to raise KD24m ($85m) and lease an initial two planes, according to Kuwait Times.

The company has asked the Ministry of Commerce to publish the minutes of an extraordinary assembly meeting held this week and will then contact the Capital Markets Authority so it can prepare for a new initial public offering (IPO).

The airline needs a minimum of KD11m in capital to re-launch operations, a company source was quoted as saying.

Wataniya Airways was a luxury carrier owned by Kuwait National Airways and listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.

It collapsed on March 17, 2011, due to “severe financial disorders”, and citing regional unrest and a "lack of fair trade requirements in the local market".

In 2010 it recorded a loss of KD14.1m, which followed KD10.9m in losses in 2009. Its total assets at the time were KD78.4m.

It is not clear whether a re-launched Wataniya Airways would continue to target the luxury sector.

It would be the third airline in the Gulf state.

National carrier Kuwait Airways is also undergoing a massive overhaul as it prepares to privatise. The airline has recorded continuous losses for much of the past 20 years but is underwritten by the government. Its share of the local market has shrunk to just 14 percent.

Privately-owned, low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways, however, has managed to become one of the most successful for its size in the region.

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