|Founded||1953(as Kuwait National Airways)|
|Commenced operations||16 March 1954|
|Hubs||Kuwait International Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Oasis Club|
|Company slogan||Earning Your Trust|
|Headquarters||Al Farwaniyah Governorate, Kuwait|
Kuwait Airways (Arabic: , al-Xu al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiyah) is the national carrier of Kuwait, with its head office on the grounds of Kuwait International Airport, Al Farwaniyah Governorate. It operates scheduled international services throughout the Middle East, to the Indian subcontinent, Europe, Southeast Asia and North America, from its main base at Kuwait International. Kuwait Airways is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization.
The carrier traces its history back to 1953,[nb 1] when Kuwait National Airways was formed by a group of Kuwaiti businessmen; initially, the government took a 50% interest.:211 That year, a five-year management contract was signed with British International Airlines (BIA), a BOAC subsidiary in Kuwait that operated charter flights and provided maintenance services. Two Dakotas were bought,:211 and operations started on 16 March 1954 . The carrier transported 8,966 passengers in its first year of operations. In July 1955 , the name Kuwait Airways was adopted.[nb 2] In May 1958 , a new contract for management and operation was signed, directly with BOAC this time. BIA was taken over by Kuwait Airways in April 1959 .[nb 3]
On 8 August 1962,:210 Kuwait Airways became the first foreign customer in ordering the Trident when two aircraft of the type were acquired, and an option for a third was taken. The deal was valued at £5.5 million, and also included a Comet 4C. At the same time, the carrier had also a £3 million order in place for three BAC One-Elevens, with an option for a fourth.:221 The airline took delivery of the first Comet of its own in January 1963 , but Comet operations had started in July the previous year with an aircraft on lease from MEA.:225 In August 1963 , a second Comet was ordered. The delivery of this second airframe established an unofficial record in early 1964, when it flew between London and Kuwait, a distance of 2,888 miles (4,648 km), at 461 miles per hour (742 km/h) on average. On 1 June 1963, the government increased its participation in the airline to 100%. In March 1964 , the carrier added its first European destination to the route network when flights to London were inaugurated using Comet equipment; from that time, services between London and some points in the Middle East, including Abadan, Bahrain, Beirut, Dhahran, Doha and Kuwait, started being operated in a pool agreement between the carrier and BOAC and MEA. A month later, the airline absorbed Trans Arabia Airways.:855
In April 1965Baghdad, Bahrain, Beirut, Bombay, Cairo, Damascus, Doha, Frankfurt, Geneva, Jerusalem, Karachi, London, Paris and Teheran. At this time, the fleet was comprised two Comet 4Cs, three DC-6Bs, two Twin Pioneers and three Viscount 700s; the carrier had two Trident 1Es and three One-Elevens pending delivery. The first Trident was handed over by the aircraft manufacturer in March 1966 , and the second followed in May the same year. In the interim, a third aircraft of the type was ordered. On the other hand, the One-Elevens were never delivered: in January 1966 the carrier stated that the simultaneous introduction of both types of aircraft was not possible due to a tightened budget, and postponed their delivery; it was informed late that year that the airline would not take them.[nb 4] Three Boeing 707-320Cs were ordered in November 1967 . The carrier made its first profit ever in 1968, with a net income of £910,000., the route network had expanded to include Abadan,
During 1972, Kuwait Airways' fifth consecutive profitable year, the airline had a net profit of £2.9 million. By May 1973 That year, flights to Colombo were launched. At March 1975 , Faisal Saud Al-Fulaij, who employed 1,800, was the chairman of the corporation. In a deal worth US$14 million, two additional ex-Pan American Boeing 707-320Cs were subsequently purchased that year, with the first one entering the fleet in May. The carrier ordered its first Boeing 737 that year, slated for delivery in February 1976 . Kuwait Airways became the Boeing 727s 96th worldwide customer in 1979, when it ordered three of these aircraft for delivery in late 1980 and early 1981., the fleet had reduced to five Boeing 707-320C aircraft.
By July 1980Boeing 737-200, three Boeing 747-200Bs and one JetStar; three Boeing 727-200s were pending delivery. In mid-1980, six Airbus A310-200s were ordered to replace the Boeing 707s on routes to Asia, Europe and the Middle East, with deliveries starting in 1983; five more A310 aircraft were added to the order late that year., chairmanship was held by Ghassan Al-Nissef, the number of employees had grown to 5,400 and the fleet comprised eight Boeing 707-320Cs, one
After India air market was deregulated in 1992, Kuwait Airways and Gulf Air participated in the formation of Jet Airways, each holding a 20% equity stake, with a total investment estimated in US$8 million. Following the enactment of a law that banned the investment of foreign carriers in domestic Indian operators, both airlines had to divest their shareholding in the Indian company. Kuwait Airways' 20% stake in Jet Airways was sold to chairman Naresh Goyal for US$4 million.
In July 1996 the carrier modified a previous order that included Boeing 747 aircraft, and placed an order worth US$280 million for two Boeing 777-200s, with purchase rights for another aircraft of the type. The operation made Kuwait Airways the 22nd customer of the type worldwide. The airframer handed over the first Boeing 777-200 in early 1998. In December 1998 a code-share agreement was signed with Trans World Airlines to begin in the Spring of 1999.,
In October 2007, the new CEO pledged that the airline should be privatised in order for it to compete efficiently against other airlines. He says that the airline will encounter difficulty in advancing, especially in fleet renewal, without the privatisation.
Flights to Iraq were resumed in November 2013 ; Kuwait Airways had discontinued services to the country in 1990 following the invasion of Kuwait. After a 17-year hiatus, the carrier resumed flying to Munich in July 2015 . Also in July 2015, the airline restarted flights to Istanbul-Atatürk; the city had not been served for three years.Bangalore was added to the carrier network in October 2015 .
Privatisation started being considered in the mid-1990s, in a period that followed the Gulf War when the carrier experienced a heavy loss on its assets. The company was turned into a corporation in 2004. A draft decree for its privatisation was approved by the government on 21 July 2008. Plans were to sell up to 35% of the stake to a long-term investor and another 40% allotted to the public, whereas the government would hold the remaining 25%. These plans also contemplated the exclusion of domestic carrier competitors, such as Jazeera Airways, as potential bidders. Furthermore, the government also committed to keep the workforce invariant for at least five years and those who were not to be retained would be offered the opportunity to be transferred to other government dependencies without altering their salaries and holding similar working conditions.
In 2011, the privatisation committee valued the carrier at US$805 million, following advice by the Citigroup, Ernst & Young and Seabury. The process was expected to be concluded by March 2011 . However, in October that year the committee recommended the airline to go through a reorganisation process before continuing with the privatisation programme, something that was approved by Kuwait Council of Ministers. The privatisation draft was amended and the government signed a contract with the International Air Transport Association for the provision of consultation expertise. The law for the privatisation of Kuwait Airways Corporation was passed in January 2013 .
The Kuwait Airways headquarters is located on the grounds of Kuwait International Airport in Al Farwaniyah Governorate, Kuwait. The 42,000 square metres (450,000 sq ft) head office was built for 15.8 million Kuwaiti dinars (US $ 53.6 million). Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading Co. served as the main contractor. The headquarter was constructed from 1992 to 1996. The construction of the head office was the first time that structural glazing for curtain walls was used in the State of Kuwait. The previous headquarters was on the grounds of the airport.
Kuwait Airways has several subsidiaries that are going through a similar privatization process as KAC.
Kuwait Airways also went into alliances with several airlines to keep up with demand and to continue its operations during the 1990 War.
Kuwait Airways was accused of discriminating against holders of Israeli passports, for refusing in 2013 and 2014 to sell tickets from New York to London to people holding Israeli passports. In response, Senator Richard Blumenthal, along with five other senators, wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in May 2015 urging him to investigate the allegations. In October 2015, at the conclusion of an investigation, the Department of Transportation issued Kuwait Airways an order to "cease and desist from refusing to transport Israeli citizens between the U.S. and any third country where they are allowed to disembark" In the letter, the DOT also accused Kuwait Airways of following the Arab League boycott of Israel. Additionally, New York City Councilmember Rory Lancman asked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates JFK Airport, to "terminate the airline's lease if it doesn't immediately change its policy". For its part, the airline said that it is in compliance with Kuwaiti Law which prohibits the company from entering "into an agreement, personally or indirectly, with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship." The airline also petitioned the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the dispute.
The matter was settled on December 15, 2015, when Kuwait Airlines informed the United States Department of Transportation that it will eliminate service between JFK and London Heathrow, with The Daily Telegraph reporting that tickets for the route were no longer being sold effective the following week. Councilmember Lancman responded saying "If you're so anti-Semitic that you would rather cancel a flight than provide service to Israeli passport holders, then good riddance".
In a similar 2017 lawsuit filed by the Lawfare Project, a German court upheld the airline's right to refuse to allow Israelis to fly from Frankfurt to Bangkok. In August 2019, Kuwait Airways Chairman Yousef A. M. J. Alsaqer stated that the airlines plans to spend $2.5 billion on new aircraft that due to be delivered by 2026
|Airbus A320neo||2||13||—||12||122||134||First aircraft to be delivered in 2019|
|Airbus A330-800neo||—||8||TBA||First aircraft to be delivered in 2019|
|Airbus A350-900||—||5||TBA||First aircraft to be delivered in 2019|
Kuwait Airways operates aircraft for official State business. The fleet has a Kuwait Airways inspired livery with State of Kuwait titles, and is composed of one Airbus A300-600, one A310-300, one A319, one A320, two A340-500 and one Boeing 747-8BBJ.
In October 2013 That month, the carrier opened its maintenance facilities to the press for them to check that the fleet was kept in condition, amid rumours of deficiencies in their maintenance. In December the same year, the carrier signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the acquisition of 15 A320neos and ten A350-900s. These aircraft would be handed over between 2019 and 2022. For the interim period, the deal includes the lease of seven A320s and five A330-200s from the aircraft manufacturer; deliveries would start in late 2014. In a deal valued at US$4.4 billion, the order including ten A350-900s and 15 A320neos was confirmed in February 2014 . Kuwait Airways' intentions to purchase ten Boeing 777-300ERs were informed in November 2014 . The order was firmed up a month later for US$3.3 billion with deliveries expected to start in November 2016. Also in December 2014 , Kuwait Airways took delivery of its first sharketled Airbus A320 as part of the airline fleet renewal programme. By March 2015 Kuwait Airways received four leased aircraft of the type, marking the first fleet upgrade in 17 years. The carrier became a new customer for the Airbus A330 when it received the first aircraft of the type in June 2015 ., Kuwait Airways had one of the oldest aircraft fleets in the Middle East, with an average age of 20 years.
Following the airline's rebranding initiative in October 2016, Kuwait Airways received its first Boeing 777-300ER in December 2016, marking the arrival of the airline's first fully owned new aircraft in nearly twenty years. Introduced in 1995, the Airbus A340-300 was retired from service by the airline in 2017. In October 2018, Kuwait Airways amended a pre-existing commitment with Airbus for 10 A350-900s by reducing it to five of these aircraft, and ordered eight Airbus A330-800neos, which are scheduled to be delivered from March 2019.
Kuwait National Airways announce a change of name, effective from July 1, to Kuwait Airways.
Under a new five-year agreement, B.O.A.C. will be responsible for management and operation of Kuwait Airways.
Kuwait Airways' first de Havilland Comet 4C took off from Hatfield [sic] on 18 January for Beirut, which it reached in 4hr 34min, an average speed of 490 m.p.h.
At Hatfield [sic] on 9 January Sir Aubrey Burke (right), chairman of the de Havilland Aircraft Co, handed over the log book of Kuwait Airways' Comet 4C to the airline's chairman, Mr Nisf Al Yusaf Al Nisf.
On August 12 at the Kuwait Embassy in London Mr Abdussalam Shuaib, chairman of Kuwait Airways, signed a contract with Hawker Siddeley Aviation for a second Comet 4C.
A second Comet 4C has been ordered by Kuwait Airways, for delivery early in 1964.
Kuwait Airways' second Hawker Siddeley Comet 4C recently established, subject to official confirmation, a point-to-point record between London and Kuwait. The official time for the 2,888 mile delivery flight was 6hr 25sec--an average of 461 m.p.h.
Kuwait Airways' general manager, Mr Abdel Rahman el Mishri, disembarking from the Comet which inaugurated his company's new London service on March 2.
Kuwait Airways have bought Trans Arabian Airways, the Beirut-based Kuwaiti company which operates three DC-6Bs.
The two One-Elevens ordered by Kuwait Airways, delivery of which was deferred last year, are not now likely to be taken by the airline.
Kuwait Airways made a profit in 1972 for the fifth consecutive year. The carrier, which operates five Boeing 707-320Cs on services radiating from Kuwait as far as London to the west and Bombay to the east, had a net income of KD2.1 million (£2.9 million). Net income in 1968, the first profitable year for the airline, was £910,000.
The second of two Boeing 707-320Cs sold by Pan American to Kuwait Airways Corporation will be delivered on September 9. The first was delivered in May. Total cost of both aircraft with spares was over $14 million.
Boeing has announced three new orders: Kuwait Airways and Nordair of Montreal have each ordered one 737, Kuwait's first and Nordair fifth, for delivery in February 1976 and November respectively
Kuwait Airways has ordered three Boeing Advanced 727s for delivery in late 1980 and early 1981. The airline becomes Boeing's 96th 727 customer. Its aircraft will be laid out with 126 tourist seats and 16 first-class, and will feature dual INS and full flight regime autothrottles.
Kuwait Airways launched 3X-weekly Munich-Kuwait City service.
Bangalore has seen Kuwait Airways, Nepal Airlines and Thai AirAsia all adding new routes. Kuwait Airways started a 3X-weekly Airbus A320 service from Kuwait, Nepal Airlines began 3X-weekly A320 service from Kathmandu, and Thai Air Asia is offering a 5X-weekly service from Bangkok DMK.
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