Jazeera Airways seeks 35% stake in Kuwait Airways – Boodai wants state carrier to meet people’s aspirations

Kuwait Airways and Jazeera Airways planes are parked on the tarmac at Kuwait International Airport

Kuwait Airways and Jazeera Airways planes are parked on the tarmac at Kuwait International Airport

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways has begun the bidding process for acquiring a 35 percent stake in loss-making state carrier Kuwait Airways, it said yesterday.

Jazeera has submitted a letter of intent to buy the stake, it said in a statement, adding this was expected to be the first privatization by the government that exceeds the $3 billion mark. It didn’t specify if this amount reflected the valuation of the 35 percent stake or the entire company.

The carrier’s chairman Marwan Boodai said Jazeera aims to make Kuwait Airways “a leading airline that meets the ambitions of the Kuwaitis and travelers across the world”. The carrier’s chairman Marwan Boodai noted that the request of acquisition came in line with the country’s policy seeking to encourage the private sector to contribute to promoting the national economy.

Boodai added Jazeera is a joint-stock company and publicly listed at the Kuwait Stock Exchange. Kuwait Airways is one of the Middle East’s oldest airlines but has struggled in the face of competition from younger Gulf carriers such as Qatar Airways and Dubai’s Emirates. Boodai told Reuters in October that it was preparing to make a bid for a 35 percent stake – the maximum allowed by a private investor under Kuwait’s privatization law. Logistics firm Agility has also been linked with bidding for the stake. — Agencies

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