By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: Kuwait Airways on Wednesday held its ordinary General Assembly meeting for the fiscal year ending on December 31, 2021. The meeting approved all the items on the agenda including the financial and administrative reports. It also reviewed the annual report of the board of directors and their achievements during the year 2021 in the presence of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kuwait Airways Ali Al-Dukhan and Chief Executive Officer Maen Razouqi.

Addressing a press conference following the general assembly meeting, Dukhan said the losses incurred by the airline during the year 2019 amounted to KD 107 million, adding that the airline expects to reduce the losses by half by the end of 2022 and to zero financial losses by 2024. He stated that Kuwait Airways seeks to restructure its airline fleet to consist 60 percent of small planes and 40 percent of large planes, which will give them more flexibility in flight preparation, lower fares and operations costs, adding that the current fleet provides 50 percent of the aircraft's fleet development plan.

Dukhan pointed out that the board of directors accomplished several achievements, such as setting a plan for the future fleet expansion, taking into consideration the arrival of six new Airbus 320 aircraft out of 15 and two Airbus aircraft A330-800 out of eight. This is in addition to the communication the airline had with Airbus Industries in order to speed up the delivery of the Airbus order that was signed in 2014 and modified in 2018.

"The board succeeded in re-obtaining the approval of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for immediate maintenance procedures for aircraft of other airlines, re-approval of the working plan and submitting it to the General Investment Authority. Kuwait Airways has activated the digital transformation program to develop a work system to reach the best level of customer service, in addition to signing a contract to supply emergency training equipment, which is a qualitative step for Kuwait Airways in improving and developing its safety and security procedures.

This has been done in coordination with the Direct Investment Promotion Authority," Dukhan said. "Kuwait Airways has striven hard to raise the level of services at Kuwait International Airport (T4) and the results have been phenomenal as the airline could maintain a high percentage of regularity in flight departures without any delay," he said.

Kuwait Airways CEO Maen Razouqi (left) and Chairman Ali Al-Dukhan.

Pragmatic strategy

"Kuwait Airways is not looking for any funding currently," said Razouqi. "Kuwait Airways is in a sound financial situation currently. Therefore, in 2022, we will not seek any funding from any party, neither from the authorities nor from any banks. We are in the process of building a strategy for 2023-2024 that includes funding by ourselves through a pragmatic operational strategy," he pointed out. "The recent achievements were accomplished in a very challenging operational environment for the aviation industry as jet fuel prices went up by 40 percent, representing 30 percent of our total cost. With all these challenges, we managed to cut our operational costs significantly."

Razouqi said: "Kuwait Airways is relentlessly striving to meet the needs of its valued customers through a variety of different destinations, as it has previously launched 17 new destinations linking Kuwait to the world, in an effort to meet the growing demand for markets - short, medium and long-term. Therefore, Kuwait Airways pays great attention to the comfort and service of their customers, and to provide them with the opportunity to travel on Kuwait Airways planes to their preferred destinations."

He added: "In line with its plan to expand its network, Kuwait Airways will launch eight new destinations for the winter schedule, which includes the Maldives, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur, Addis Ababa, Madinah, Taif, Hyderabad and Kathmandu. The company continues to operate two destinations, Madrid and Izmir, throughout the year, which were previously launched, due to the increasing demand for the two destinations and their importance to our valued customers."