Kuwait Airways delays privatisation to restructure

Kuwait Airways delays privatisation to restructure

Kuwait has delayed the part-privatisation of its national carrier in favour of a restructuring of the airline.

Kuwait Airways had been offering a 35 per cent strategic stake to potential buyers as it seeks to reinvent itself in the face of stiff competition from rivals in the region.

Officials hope the sale of a $280 million stake to an outside party will help in transforming the airline to an efficient and lean operator.

“The delay in privatising Kuwait Airways gives us the opportunity to address a number of operational and structural issues ahead of a future privatisation program,” explained a statement from the government body charged with the sale, PrivComm.

Several expressions of interest in the carrier have been received since the sale process was launched in August, the PrivComm statement added.

Established in 1954, Kuwait Airways operates 17 aircraft and controls about 31 per cent of the Kuwait market.

In 2010, it made a full-year net loss of $556 million and carried 2.62 million passengers.