By Courtney Trenwith
US manufacturer makes last minute attempt to win lucrative fleet deal from Airbus
A team from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing is expected to arrive in Kuwait this week to try and convince the national carrier to include its planes in its new fleet.
Kuwait Airways is replacing its ageing aircraft and expanding its fleet as part of the government's preparations to sell the national carrier.
The airline has reportedly agreed to a deal with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to spend KD850m ($3bn) on 25 new jets and to lease 13 more, starting from 2019.
But according to local media the airline is still negotiating and has opened up talks with rival Boeing following a recent visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
It is not clear whether Kuwait Airways is considering signing deals with both manufacturers or selecting only one.
The Kuwait government has wanted to sell the airline for some time and the National Assembly voted in January to support the sale.
Earlier this month, the state paid off KD441m ($1.55bn) worth of debt accrued by the airline since 2004 - a vital move before the company can restructure itself towards privatisation.
Under the proposed sale plans, Kuwait will offer a 35 percent stake in the carrier to companies on the country’s stock exchange and to local or international firms, state media agency KUNA said last year.
The government will retain a 20 percent stake while 5 percent will be distributed to KAC employees. The remaining 40 percent will be allotted to citizens.
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