Jazeera Airways set for November launch

KUWAIT'S first private low-cost airline, Jazeera Airways is set take to the skies on November 16 after receiving two Airbus A320 planes it ordered last year. Jazeera’s launch flight will be to Dubai.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  September 18, 2005

KUWAIT'S first private low-cost airline, Jazeera Airways is set take to the skies on November 16 after receiving two Airbus A320 planes it ordered last year. Jazeera’s launch flight will be to Dubai. The airline’s operation will include daily flights to Dubai, Beirut, Damascus and Manama, and three flights a week to Amman. It also plans to serve Egypt, India and Southeast Asia in the near future, according to the company’s chief executive. “We are proud to announce that the official launch of the airline will be late October per schedule and we are currently taking bookings for flights on November 16 and beyond,” said Marwan Boodai, chairman and CEO, Jazeera Airways. Jazeera initially planned to start operations in February using two leased planes, but the airline later decided to delay its launch until it received its own aircraft. The company will receive two planes next month and another two A320s next June.The privately owned firm started a search for new planes back in March after being told by its partner that the delivery of two aircraft had been cancelled. “We had an agreement with a European carrier, but unfortunately they had some technical problems and couldn’t deliver,” Suhail Homsi, director, Jazeera Airways told Arabian Business. Tickets are being offered for as little as 40% of the normal rate in the emirate. Travelers in Kuwait will be able to fly to Manama one-way for just US$34, the airline said. Jazeera was established in May 2004 as a shareholding company with a capital of US$34 million, 30% of which is owned by a group of core founders while the rest was offered to the public on May 26. Unlike similar ventures in Europe however, Jazeera will not market itself as a ‘no-frills’ carrier, according to Homsi. “We don’t want to call it a low-cost system — when passengers enter the aircraft they are not going to believe it,” said Homsi. “There will be leather seats, a sophisticated entertainment system, and we own a TV station as well so we could deliver different programmes for different routes,” he added. The airline was founded by the Boodai Group, a leading Kuwaiti business, which has key investments in the media, transport and aviation sectors. It received its Air Operation Certificate from the emirate’s civil aviation authorities last December. The Kuwaiti government decided in November 2003 to open up the domestic aviation sector to competition by allowing the private sector to establish low-fare passenger and cargo airlines to compete with the state-owned loss-making Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC). A second private aviation company for cargo is being established. The decision came after the move by the Gulf Arab Emirates of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in 2003 to begin operating no frills carriers.

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