Wataniya Airways planning services to India; 1time gains; Royal Jordanian falls

Kuwait National Airways (+2.0%) was the only Middle East carrier to gain on Friday (30-Apr-2010) on news, Wataniya Airways, is reportedly considering plans to launch operations to India. Further details were not disclosed.

Bloomberg UTV speculated that the move may be in response to Saudi Arabian LCC, nasair’s plans to launch India operations. nasair plans to launch three times weekly Riyadh-Kochi service from 01-Jun-2010, four times weekly Riyadh-Kozhikode service from 01-Jul-2010 and three times weekly Riyadh-Delhi service from 01-Aug-2010. The carrier launched four times weekly Riyadh-Mumbai service in Apr-2010.

Wataniya Airways also launched three times weekly Kuwait-Istanbul service on 02-May-2010. Istanbul is Wataniya Airways' ninth destination and its first European destination city since the launch of operations in Jan-2009.

All other carriers in the Middle East ended trading lower, with Royal Jordanian (-4.7%) taking the biggest fall of the day, as the Amman Stock Exchange slipped 0.4%. Air Arabia (-1.4%) and Jazeera Airways (-0.9%) were also down.

In other Middle East news, Boeing projects a market for 980 twin-aisle aircraft in the Middle East until 2028, or roughly 57% of the total demand for aircraft it foresees in the region. Its "Current Market Outlook" also projects demand for 680 single-aisle aircraft, which amounts to 40% of the demand for the same period. The remaining 3% is demand for regional jets with fewer than 90 seats. Boeing states the Middle East air cargo market is the fastest growing of any region and has weathered the downturn with more resilience. Boeing is forecasting about 150 freighters will be delivered to Middle East-domiciled carriers until 2028, mostly medium and large widebodies.

In Africa, Comair (-2.9%) shares also fell after the carrier was forced to cancel plans for a 24-hour service to Durban King Shaka Airport during the soccer World Cup, due to limited night-time services at the new airport. Air traffic controllers at the airport have not been fully trained to handle aircraft arriving after 22:00.

Kenya Airways (-0.9%) was also down, while Lonrho was flat.

1time Holdings (+3.6%) was the only carrier up at the end of trading, despite South Africa’s JSE slipping 0.3% on jittery mining stocks.

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Selected African and Middle Eastern airlines share price movements (% change): 30-Apr-2010