Abu Dhabi: Privatising Kuwait Airways will give it a “fighting chance”, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Kamil Al Awadi, has said ahead of a parliamentary vote to decide on whether the government retains ownership.
Kuwaiti’s parliament is expected to soon vote on a proposal for the government to retain 75 per cent of the national carrier. The proposal was put to the parliament in June 2015 when the government was to trim its stake to as low as 20 per cent.
“The [privatisation] plan actually served a purpose to give the airline a fighting chance as a business. If it remains a government entity then it’s a lot harder to run,” Al Awadi, told reporters in Abu Dhabi on Sunday at the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) Aviation Day Middle East and Africa conference.
Since 2008, Kuwait has been trying to privatise its national airline. Kuwait low cost carrier Jazeera Airways has come out as a possible suitors, saying it would buy a 35 per cent controlling stake.
Kuwait Airways is in the middle of turnaround and will start construction next month on a temporary terminal at Kuwait International that will be completed in April 2017, Al Awadi said.
The temporary terminal will be able to handle between 4 and 6 million passengers a year and will be strictly used by Kuwait Airways to help it maintain growth until a new, permanent terminal opens at the airport in 2022.
He also said that the airline is assessing whether it should outsource the engineering, cargo and ground handling components of its business and plans to launch point to point flights that do not start or end in Kuwait from 2018.