Another BRICS in the Kuwait wall?

The MENA region is a buoyant and competitive market and it could be getting bigger. A look into Kuwait Airways’ strategy to fit into this new diverse canvas.

Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways is looking at fleet expansion to meet new demands. PICTURE: P Pigeyre for Airbus.

The new air transport landscape is seeing its centre move further east in the MENA region.

The decision of founder countries of the BRICS to welcome six new nations including Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can potentially boost these economies - if the members can accept their major differences and capitalise on their strengths, to grow together.

State-owned Kuwait Airways is getting prepared to capture its share within this market. It has crafted an ambitious strategic plan until 2030 with emboldened underpinnings regarding fleet and route development, digital transformation to enhance services, passenger experience and sustainability.

The airline, which reduced its losses by 50 per cent in 2022, plans to increase its fleet from 30 to 50 aircraft by 2050.

According to Kuwait Airways chairman, captain Ali Al-Dukhan: “Kuwait Airways achieved highly-positive results that we didn’t expect in 2022".

Total passenger revenues increased by 11 per cent, while the number of passengers rose by two per cent, reaching 3.5 million.

Al-Dukhan emphasised Kuwait Airways' relentless endeavour to implement its strategy according to objectives set by the board of directors and its vision for 2030. Its goal is to enhance the company's entire system, achieve profit and reduce costs.

The airline is adapting its fleet with roughly a 50 per cent mix of wide and narrow bodies to focus on its point-to-point and transit markets and capitalise more efficiently on the capacity between east and west destinations.

Kuwait Airways recently announced a few intercontinental changes to the airline’s route network for the IATA winter 2023 season from 30 October.

These include suspension of flights to Kuala Lumpur (due to commercial reasons); increased frequencies from three weekly to daily, offering convenient connections via Kuwait to/from Europe; a new three-weekly non-stop service to Barcelona (with a potential to get feeder traffic from the Indian sub continent/Iran region); and new Washington DC flights scheduled for mid-December.

Kuwait Airways has also focused on new ideas, namely putting the ‘customer first’, enabling it to win the “World's most improved airline 2023” from Skytrax.

According to Khalid Al-Bustan, director of corporate communication and public relations, the airline strives to evaluate its customers’ experience. This includes booking their ticket, their check-in and completing their travel procedures, to boarding the aircraft and enjoying the numerous services on board, assisted by members of the cabin crew.

“All of the above services are based on systematic research to achieve complete customer satisfaction with the quality of services we provide to customers,” he said.

The other factors that have contributed include the launch of platinum cards for Oasis Club members, a home check-in service, complimentary limousines, E-boarding passes, a “just upgrade” feature to upgrade to travel class, plus developing and launching new menus on board. It also provides new services like the BlueFi inflight wifi, and the Elite lounge at terminal four, Kuwait Airport.

Alongside its digital transformation plan, the airline is carving the way to a more sustainable and responsible future.

“As we look to the future, we remain committed to our environment, social, governance strategy, prioritising sustainability and social responsibility.

“By maintaining these pillars, the company will achieve its objectives of reaching extensive horizons of excellence, continuous success and achievements and contribute significantly to its eminent position," said CEO Maen Razouqi.

Through active monitoring and initiatives to increase its assets, utilisation and network improvements, Kuwait Airways has also reduced carbon emissions per passenger year-on-year by more than 30 per cent.

Anuradha Deenapanray

Anuradha Deenapanray

Anuradha is a francophone editor for African and Arabian Aerospace magazines.