Jazeera Airways confirms Kuwait City – London launch; puts pressure on the long-standing BA and Kuwait Airways duopoly
After revealing its intent earlier this year to expand its network with the launch of flights to London, confirmation last week on the launch of the daily connection between Kuwait City and London Gatwick from 27-Oct-2019 will have British Airways and Kuwait Airways looking over their schedules. The two airlines have held a long-term duopoly on the route – according to the airline, it is the first new service from the UK to Kuwait in 55 years.
The Independent Kuwait carrier is currently making a buzz in the market having first launched flights in Oct-2005. Last year it opened its own dedicated terminal at Kuwait International airport – the first owned, built and operated by a private airline in the Middle East – and recently announced a substantial increase in its profitability for the first half of 2019.
The airline reported a notable KD6.2 million ($20.4 million) net profit, more than four times greater than the KD1.4 million recorded for 1H 2018. Revenue rose 37.4% to KD47.3 million and passenger numbers grew by 20% to 1.1 million.
Jazeera has boosted fleet utilisation and loads, growing 77.6%, up +3.9% on the same period a year ago. Passenger yield for the second quarter was up 11.5% at KD45.6, according to its financials. Its network has already extended into the Indian sub-continent, but could its first service to Europe be a step too far, especially given the Kuwait – London sector length, far beyond any other city pair in its network.
The new service is being made possible by the arrival of three additional Airbus A320neos before the end of the year on lease from Avolon. These add to the single version of the type its already flies (it was delivered in May-2018) and currently mainly deployed on the Kuwait-Hyderabad market, but also flying local sectors, including Jazeera’s largest market linking Kuwait to Cairo.
Jazeera will offer a three-class arrangement on the London route with business, premium economy and economy cabins. It will bring competition to a route served by British Airways and Kuwait Airways, albeit serving Gatwick rather than Heathrow airport used by the established operators on the route.
British Airways currently operates a daily schedule between Kuwait and London using Boeing 777 widebodied equipment. Kuwait Airways upped to 13 flights per week between the two cities this summer, mainly using its Boeing 777-300ER, but will revert back to ten per week from the end of Oct-2019 as Jazeera enters the market.
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