Kuwait's KAC sees revenue fall amid safety claim

Kuwait Airways Corp chief blames bad publicity, Arab Spring for decline in performance
Kuwait's KAC sees revenue fall amid safety claim
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 05 Oct 2012 09:49 AM

Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) saw a decline in revenues in recent months following concerns raised about the safety of its fleet, its chairman has said.

It said the airline's performance had been impacted by a "media campaign concerning the air fleet safety" plus continuing Arab Spring issues, said Yousif Al-Humaidi in comments published by news agency KUNA. 

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.

But speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony marking the renewal of a maintenance contract with Jordan Aircraft Maintenance Company (Joramco), Al-Humaidi insisted that KAC operated with "the highest safety standards".

Al-Humaidi accused the media of making propaganda out of the safety issue, adding that civil aviation supervising bodies were responsible for judging the KAC air fleet.

"The tendentious media campaign and the Arab Spring affected sales of KAC, which forced the corporation to decrease operating hours and number of flights, like suspending flights to Damascus, and temporarily halting flights to Cairo and Beirut," he was quoted as saying. 

"KAC air fleet is safe and the corporation is abiding by safety measures before each take-off," he added.  

On the issue of KAC becoming a private company, he said he was awaiting a government decision, adding that he was "ready for this step".

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.

In March state-run carrier Kuwait Airways resumed flights following the end of strike action by workers calling for better pay.

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