Third Kuwaiti airline takes off next January


Kuwait National Airways plans to start operations next January, becoming the third carrier in the Gulf Arab state, and list its shares on the market by year end, the airline said on Monday.

The carrier, also to be known as Wataniya Airways, will begin with two A320 aircraft and fly to several destinations in the Middle East, it said in a statement.
Chief Executive George Cooper said the carrier had a deal with Aviation Lease & Finance Company (Alafco) to lease Airbus aircraft.
‘The company had reached a deal with Alafco to lease three A320 planes to be delivered in 2009,’ he said on the sidelines of a shareholder meeting.
The company is currently in talks with an identified firm to lease six more A320s for delivery from 2010, he added. The new airline will compete with state carrier Kuwait Airways and low-budget carrier Jazeera Airways.
The government has said it plans to sell stakes in the national airline to foreign investors and the public.
Kuwait National Airways - in which Kuwait Projects Company (Kipco) owns a 30 per cent stake along with other corporate investors  - said it intends to list its shares on the Kuwait stock market by year end, its Chairman Abdul Salam al-Bahr told shareholders on Monday.
This will make the new carrier the fourth listed Arab airline after Dubai's Air Arabia, Royal Jordanian and Jazeera.
Established in 2006 with 50 million dinars share capital, the airline sold 70 per cent of its shares to the public that year. It does not plan another offering, Cooper said.