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Kuwait Airways receives 18 new aircraft, despite 2022 losses

NurPhoto/Nicolas Economou
Kuwait Airways chairman says the airline is likely to record an annual loss of KD 50-60 million in 2022

Kuwait Airways has received 18 aircraft from Airbus out of an order for 31, Reuters reported, citing the state carrier’s chairman.

The airline expects to record an annual loss of KD 50-60 million ($161.27-193.52 million) in 2022, chairman Ali Aldakhan said.

The company expects to break even by the end of 2024, he added.

“It was supposed to be Kuwait Airways’ best year compared to the previous five years, until the pandemic hit the industry,” Al Arabiya reported, citing the chairman.

The upgrade to the airline’s fleet will give it flexibility to boost revenue, he said.

Kuwait Airways earlier this year restructured its order with Airbus, including longer-distance single-aisle aircraft.

The air travel industry was among the worst hit globally by the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing lockdowns and border closures — and the Middle East’s industry was no exception. 

The pandemic caused global aviation revenues to drop by 60 percent in 2020, and airlines lost a total value of around $167 billion that year, McKinsey & Company said in a report.

Global air travel and tourism is not expected to return to 2019 levels before 2024, the report said.

According to the International Air Transport Association, the Middle East’s various airlines posted losses of $7.1 billion in 2020; about $68 for every passenger flown.