By Andy Sambidge
Senior official says fleet being developed to make carrier attractive to would-be investors
Plans to privatise Kuwait Airways Company (KAC) could be completed within a year and steps are being taken to make the airline more attractive to would-be investors, a senior official has said.
KAC's chairman Sami Al-Nusif said he was confident that the carrier would play "an integral role in transforming Kuwait" into a financial and commercial hub despite its recent troubles.
In comments published by KUNA, Al-Nusif said the privatisation of KAC "would transform the company into a leading force within the air travel domain".
Al-Nusif said that developing the airline's fleet was a priority in a bid to attract investors, adding that "selling the company in its current status would not be a good option".
"If all goes well and the restructuring plan works, KAC might be sold within a year, he said.
KAC regional director Bader Al-Amiri added that the company was "working on measures to rectify itself to bring the whole operation to the world's attention".
In April, Kuwait's cabinet approved an amended draft law paving the way for the privatisation of Kuwait Airways within three years.
Kuwait's parliament first approved a plan to privatise the loss-making Kuwait Airways in 2008, but the process has been repeatedly held up.
Al-Nusif added that KAC would be embarking on steps to modernise its fleet and adding new destinations while making sure that its customers "had a secure and safe flight experience".
He said maintenance fees increased from KD4m to KD36m to ensure that aircraft were up to the highest safety standard and "would not endanger the lives of travellers".
In July, Kuwaiti lawyer Hawra Al Habeeb called for the suspension of the entire Kuwait Airways fleet for safety reasons, after the government grounded five aircraft.
The call came just days after it was reported that a Kuwait Airways flight from Kuwait to Jeddah, with 186 passengers onboard, was forced to make an emergency landing due to engine problems.
Al-Nusif also said that KAC board members would discuss plans to tackle the airline's KD100m deficit at a meeting in the near future.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
this airline will never bee attractive without radical staff cuts they have over 4000 staff for 20 aircraft 200 staff per plane compared to luftansa 40 -50 staff per plane
salaries are above industry standard due to salary hikes
inefficiency and laziness are rife new aircraft will increase debt so how is this going to be an attractive proposition for anyone
give it to Jazeera and lets see what they can do in the real commercial world it would have gone bust yrs ago in fact its never made a real profit
Kuwait Airways should now be placed under foreign management. Kuwaiti colleagues should be team members and partners in progress, not masters. Expatriates must be given due recognition, position, authority and responsibility to take decisions to run the airline as in the early '80s. Kuwait Airways has all the infrastructure, stations, route licences/permits, ASAs, slots, etc., which now need to be fully utilized through efficient management. And this can only happen with the cooperation of foreign/expatriate management and Kuwaiti colleagues. Best of luck to Kuwait Airways in its efforts to revive and achieve greater heights.