Following its official unveiling as Wataniya Airways in late May-08, Kuwait’s latest carrier received its Air Operators Certificate on 07-Jul-08 from the Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation (AOC). The AOC has been granted almost six months before the carrier’s planned launch of operations.
The carrier will be Kuwait's third international airlines, focusing on premium, point-to-point operations in the Middle East region. It is attempting to find a niche between the long-haul national carrier, Kuwait Airways, and booming regional LCC, Jazeera Airways. It plans to operate its A320s, two at launch and ten more to come over a four-year period, in a two-class, 122-seat configuration, with 26 premium and 96 economy seats. According to the carrier this is the world's lowest density A320 configuration for a scheduled carrier.
The carrier is currently in the process of planning and preparing for the launch of commercial operations, expected to commence in early 2009.
Kuwait National Airlines appoints KAMCO to manage listing
Wataniya is a subsidiary of Kuwait National Airlines (not to be confused with Kuwaiti national carrier, Kuwait Airlines Corporation), and has been in planning since 2005. Kuwait National Airlines comprises two other key business operations, apart from Wataniya Airways:
- United Projects Company for Aviation Services (UPAC), which specialises in Build/Operate/Transfer projects, as well as related real estate development, construction management and aviation support services. It operates the Kuwait International Airport (KIA) mall and car park and it is undertaking a number of new projects;
- Royal Aviation: A private air terminal in a purpose built, dedicated facility at KIA, to provide fast check-in, luxury lounges and tailored services for individual travellers and the providers of private aviation services in Kuwait.
Kuwait National Airlines launched a 350 million share IPO in Jan-05, raising approximately USD190 million. The structure of the company includes 30% owned by a group of strategic investors and 70% controlled by smaller investors. In late Jun-08, the company appointed KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO) to manage its listing on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 4Q08. The company had earlier announced plans to list on the KSE by Jun-08, and did not disclose the cause of the delay.
- Owned by Kuwait National Airlines, Wataniya is due to launch in Feb-09, with premium focused operations.
- It is Kuwait's third international airline.