‘We want double passenger numbers’

Al Boodai: looking ahead with high expectations

JUST one year old, Jazeera Airways has already established an impressive route network with 13 destinations, and has just raised $70 million to fund further expansion.

The airline’s chairman and CEO Marwan Al Boodai lets TTN in on what to expect next. Excerpts:

What are Jazeera’s plans for 2007?
It’s been an exciting year for us here at Jazeera Airways, we flew over 500,000 travellers in our first year, launched 13 destinations, extended our aircraft maintenance programme with Lufthansa Technik to cover the years to come, received four brand new aircraft from Airbus, and to top it all had the honour of the Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah, signing our aircraft on our anniversary. 
Following our success we want to double our passenger numbers and expand our fleet for further growth. We know that the market and demand are there in and around the region.
We also recently announced a rights issue to raise the airline’s capital to $70 million to help us fund this expansion. This includes the increase of our fleet of A320 to 10 aircraft over the next few years, with a possibility of exercising our additional six on option.
We inter to offer more destinations. Our traveller can now fly to Beirut and Mashhad from Dubai connecting via Kuwait as well as to Mumbai from Bahrain via Kuwait.

What is your approach to competition?
Being competitive is important, but the priority was making life easier for passengers by simplifying the travel process – and that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve also boosted the local economies and expanded our operations at the same time.

Is Jazeera Airways bullish about 2007?
In this first year we have established Jazeera Airways as a household name in Kuwait. We launched 13 destinations in nine months and are the fastest growing carrier in the Middle East. In 2007, Jazeera Airways will continue to forge strong growth and earn industry recognition. We will invest in technology, continue to provide innovative travel options and excellent levels of service as strategic drivers of our growth. We will also be expanding our destinations and strategic presence in emerging markets across the Middle East, North Africa and the Subcontinent.