KUWAIT: Wataniya Airways, one of the three national carriers of Kuwait, resumes its flights today in a new shape after preparations made over a year. The company’s first scheduled flight heads to Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, and it operates three flights a week, while other flights are scheduled on July 12-13 to Azerbaijan’s Baku and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Sarajevo respectively. The first phase of the flights will head to 16 destinations, mainly Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, India, Pakistan and some European countries. Wataniya is working with a clear budget in line an ambitious plan over the next five years after its new owners had reduced capital from KD 50 million (about $163 million) to KD 10 million (about $32.7 million).
Al-Tuwaijri Group has managed to revive the company, after increasing its capital and meeting most of its commitments. The group named Ali Al-Fozan as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Riyadh Al-Saeed as his deputy, while Khaled Al-Marzouq, Fawzi Al-Ateeqi and Ibrahim Al-Tuwaijri are members of the Board of Directors.
The company’s shareholders injected fresh liquidity that met 96 percent of its financial commitments, and it is expected that the company will double its capital to KD 20 million (about $65.4 million) after operating its flights. The company prepared a new operating plan based on some pillars; launching from Kuwait to some world, Arab and Gulf destinations, and creating competitive privileges and additional services to passengers.
During the preparation period, the firm was keen to develop staff and national cadres as well as use technology and digital modern systems and keep pace with initiatives issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The return of Wataniya’s flights will not be at the account of both Kuwait Airways and Al-Jazeera Airways, but it is an opportunity to achieve integration amongst the three airways. The company resumes its flights with two Airbus A320s, and the fleet will be completed by the end of this year or next year. It has a sufficient number of pilots and crews who have been trained over the past period.
It will work in line with needs of the Kuwaiti market, mainly Kuwaiti passengers, with three categories: national business, economy premium and national service. The company said in a statement that it has a five-year plan until 2022 and focuses on providing excellent services to all travelers. On June 18, Wataniya 18 obtained an Air Operator Certificate from Kuwait International Airport to be a national carrier in the country. It also announced on June 22 that it received its first Airbus A320 plane from its fleet. – KUNA