|Another new route is celebrated in the traditional way – Jazeera has announced it will launch its first services to Saudi Arabia with Jeddah and Riyadh already unveiled.|
Kuwait is one of the few Middle Eastern countries to have allowed liberalisation. As a result a private ‘budget’ airline was started at the end of 2005 of which 30% is owned by the Boodai Group who provide the CEO, Marwan Boodai. Jazeera Airways is now the country’s second largest carrier and recently placed an order for an additional 30 A320s which will take it to 40 aircraft by the end of 2014.
Bases in Kuwait and Dubai
The airline began services at the end of October 2005 and as it approaches its second anniversary has grown to five A320s operating from its main hub at Kuwait (KWI) but also a secondary hub from Dubai (DXB). In 2006 the airline reportedly carried 600,000 passengers and made a profit of nearly $9 million on revenues of $75 million. This indicates average revenue of $125 per passenger.From this winter Kuwait and Dubai will be linked by 23 weekly frequencies enabling many Dubai destinations to be served by Kuwait based aircraft. Destinations served directly this winter from each base are shown below.
|Destination||Weekly frequencyfrom Kuwait||Weekly frequencyfrom Dubai|
|Sharm El-Sheikh (SSH)||2||–|
|Source: Airline website timetable for November 2007|
For the start of the winter season the airline has announced it will launch its first routes to Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah and Riyadh have both been unveiled as new destinations though at present only Jeddah is on sale with two flights per week. Another new route is from Dubai to the Maldives which will also operate twice weekly from 28 October. A new four-times weekly direct service from Dubai to Beirut will also enhance network quality.
Routes that appear to have been dropped for the winter season include Aleppo, Mashhad and Shiraz all from Kuwait. Also direct services to Mumbai from Kuwait have been replaced by higher frequency one-stop services via Dubai. All Indian destinations are now only served directly from Dubai.
Stimulating growth in Kuwait
|Jazeera does not maximise the capacity of its A320s. Instead of 180 seats it offers 165 leather and also the “Jazeera Plus” enhanced product which even includes access to lounges! There are other differences with LCCs elsewhere in the world – only half of passengers book via internet.|
According to the airline in the first half of 2007 traffic at Kuwait airport grew by 20% over the previous year and Jazeera is claiming credit for 70% of that growth. According to OAG data for the second week of October Jazeera has a 13% share of total airport frequency and an 11% share of capacity. This compares with Kuwait Airways which has a 34% frequency share and 35% capacity share. The only other low-cost airline in the region, Air Arabia, flies to Sharjah, a destination Jazeera has so far avoided.
Around half of all passengers are now booking via the airline’s website, up from 30% in 2006. Passenger numbers are expected to double in 2007 to around 1.2 million. Management foresees that in time the Dubai base could be bigger than its home base in Kuwait.