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Sun 7 Jun 2015 07:33 PM

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Gov't to retain 75% stake in Kuwait Airways under new plan

Transport minister says 20% will be offered to Kuwaiti citizens, 5% to current and retired employees

Gov't to retain 75% stake in Kuwait Airways under new plan

Kuwait's government has approved a new structure for the privatisation of Kuwait Airways under which the state will own 75 percent of the carrier, it said on Sunday, excluding potential investors such as Jazeera Airways .

Under the new proposal, approved by Transport Minister Issa Al-Kandari, 20 percent of the airline's shares will be offered to Kuwaiti citizens, five percent to current and retired employees, and the government will retain the rest, a statement on Kuwait's news agency (KUNA) website said.

Parliament's Financial and Economic Committee will meet to vote on the approved proposal before it is finalised.

Previous proposals put government's stake at 20 to 40 percent and allowed strategic investors to own up to 35 percent.

Kuwait's parliament first approved a plan to privatise the loss-making Kuwait Airways Corp. (KAC) in 2008, but the process has been repeatedly held up. Privatisation was initially delayed as the company planned to first restructure the airline.

Kuwait Airways agreed during 2014 to purchase 10 widebody Boeing 777-300ER and 25 new Airbus aircraft including the A320-neos and A350s, in an attempt to launch new routes.

The acquisitions raised the asset value to 2 billion dinars ($6.61 billion), the statement said.

Kuwait's low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways on May 31 said it filed an interest to acquire 35 percent stake in the state-owned carrier.

The new proposal would exclude domestic carrier competitors, such as Jazeera Airways as potential bidders.

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ahmed 4 years ago

It took them decades to come to this decision, only to end up at square one? I would put this carrier on par with Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines. All have run-down carriers, horrible customer service levels and in dire need of upgrading their fleets. What all these airlines neglect to understand basicly is that national carriers are a reflection of their countries government, so if your national carrier is rundown, so is the government - they are like flying diplomats. Kuwait's insistance of keeping the status quo is baffling when the country lacks progression in so many ways against their GCC neighbors. Understandably, I see this decision as a setback to this national carrier and a letdown to many Kuwaitis who felt some sort of relief that they would feel some national pride in Kuwait Airways again. Obviously, the government is unable to run the carrier properly and one can assume that apart from Jazeera Airways nobody was even interested with investing in this carrier.