Kuwaiti parliament clears Airbus planes deal

Parliament investigated Kuwait Airways agreement for 25 planes after claims it was 'suspicious'

A Kuwaiti parliamentary committee investigating a Kuwait Airways deal to buy and lease aircraft from Airbus has ruled the agreement legitimate.

The airline said in December it had signed a provisional agreement to buy 25 Airbus aircraft and lease another 12, in a deal worth $4.4bn at the time, after months of controversial negotiating.

The airline had originally announced it would go with Airbus but then pulled out and re-opened the door to US aircraft manufacturer Boeing, before finally signing with the French company.

A group of lawmakers had claimed the deal lacked detail and was “suspicious”, while MP Abdulhameed Dashti has accused the airline of deliberately “ignoring” Boeing despite the US being a Kuwaiti ally.

Kuwait Airways CEO Rasha Al Roumi told Arabian Business in April it made commercial sense to re-open negotiations with both aircraft manufacturers when she took over the airline and ultimately she was convinced the Airbus deal was the best.

A member of the parliamentary committee investigating the deal, Talal Al Jalal, said the probe involved meetings with Kuwait Airways’ board of directors, the Audit Bureau and Kuwait Investment Authority and concluded that all procedures were correct and that the deal was necessary for the national carrier, Kuwait Times reported.

The order includes 10 A350-900 and 15 medium-haul A320neo airliners.

Al Roumi said the leased aircraft would be received in September, while the purchased planes would be delivered from 2019.

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