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Sun 9 Feb 2014 01:12 PM

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Kuwait-Airbus deal said to be on track despite probe

Airline chairman says deal to buy 25 new Airbus planes will be completed despite parliamentary investigation

Kuwait-Airbus deal said to be on track despite probe
A Kuwait Airways airplane lands in Beiruts international airport 07 September 2006, just after Israel lifted its punishing eight-week air blockade amid intense international efforts to underpin a UN-brokered ceasefire. A flight from Paris by national carrier Middle East Airlines was the first plane to land in Beirut, the hour Israel announced it would start to lift restrictions at precisely 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) 07 September. (AFP/Getty Images)

A parliamentary investigation into a Kuwait Airways plan to buy and lease aircraft from Airbus will not affect the deal, the state carrier's chairwoman told a local newspaper in comments published on Sunday.

Kuwait's parliament voted on Wednesday to investigate all contracts signed by state-owned KuwaitAirways, which is attempting its biggest overhaul since the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

Such parliamentary inquiries are common in Kuwait, where lawmakers in the Gulf state's National Assembly often question large government projects and have delayed or scuppered them in the past.

Al-Anba newspaper quoted Kuwait Airways Chairwoman Rasha al-Roumi as saying the deal would be completed without being delayed.

In December the loss-making airline signed a provisional agreement with Airbus to buy 25 new aircraft in a deal worth $4.4 billion at list prices.

The order would include the purchase of 10 A350-900 and 15 medium-haul A320neo jets. The airline also aims to lease 12 aircraft from Airbus pending delivery of the new planes.

The two companies are now going over technical and legal aspects of the deal, Al-Anba said. A final contract will only be signed when an internal Kuwait Airways commission gives the green light, it added.

A Kuwait Airways spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the report.

Politics and bureaucracy have long complicated Kuwait's plans to modernise its infrastructure and compete as a Gulf financial hub.

The carrier has one of the oldest fleets in the Middle East and wants to take out of service 11 jets from its fleet of 17, in which the planes' average age is 18 years.

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John 5 years ago

Let's hope that at 1:12 PM today this article is the most update information, since the Kuwait's local newspaper is stating contrary information that this deal as all collapsed due to a Parliamentary investigation. It is embarrassing for this country that it's national carrier flies at such a disgracing state of affairs and if Kuwait would like to jumpstart it's development plan, which to upgrade the national carrier is part of it, they would either elect an Airport Affairs Minister in Parliament and/or formulate a National Development Committee chaired with the correct expertise to expedite key development projects. Further, why hasn't this airline privatized? It is a failure of government if this deal falls through and carries on for another decade of debates. Put your country first, and leave personal agendas aside for the sake of your nation.