Kuwait's low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways has begun the bidding process for acquiring a 35 percent stake in loss-making state carrier Kuwait Airways, it said on Sunday. Jazeera has submitted a letter of intent to buy the stake, it said in a statement, adding this was expected to be the first privatisation by the government that exceeds the $3 billion mark. It didn't specify if this amount reflected the valuation of the 35 percent stake or the entire company.
Jazeera Airways Chairman, Marwan Boodai, said: “We believe an efficiently run Kuwait Airways with a private sector management approach benefits all stakeholders, especially employees who will be presented with an opportunity to transform and grow the airline into one that travelers seek as a first choice rather than a last resort.”
Kuwait Airways is one of the oldest airlines in the Middle East and in recent decades the airline was impacted by bureaucracy, politicization of the organization, and absence of vision, all of which contributed to the stagnation of the airline which prompted the Kuwait National Assembly and the Government of Kuwait to embark on privatizing the airline.
“Ultimately, we are bidding for Kuwait Airways because we believe in the Kuwaiti economy and in the talents within the organization. We believe Kuwait Airways should operate as an organization that rewards employees for commitment and innovation, and should we succeed in winning the bid, Kuwait Airways employees will be the reason why we succeed in transforming the airline,” added Boodai.
The carrier's chairman told Reuters in October that it was preparing to make a bid for a 35 percent stake - the maximum allowed by a private investor under Kuwait's privatisation law. Logistics firm Agility has also been linked with bidding for the stake.