Kuwait's Jazeera Airways swings to profit in first half on soaring travel demand

The airline carried 1.5 million passengers during the January-June period

Jazeera’s revenue in the first half of 2022 rose almost five times on an yearly basis to more than $253m. Photo: Jazeera Airways
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Kuwait's Jazeera Airways swung to a profit in the first half of the year, as it carried more passengers and emerged from coronavirus-induced travel disruptions.

Net profit for the January-June period rose to 7.8 million Kuwaiti dinars ($25.4m) compared with a loss of 11.7m dinars in the prior year period, the airline said in a statement on Tuesday.

The airline's revenue in the first half of 2022 rose almost five times on a yearly basis to 77.6m dinars.

Jazeera carried 1.5 million passengers during the six-month period, up more than seven times on an annual basis. Its load factor reached 74 per cent for the first half of the year, reflecting a yearly increase of 19.3 per cent.

“Our forecasts and expectations for the first half of the year were very accurate, as passengers’ appetite to travel was met with a return of travel capacity at Kuwait International Airport since the second half of last year,” Jazeera Airways chairman Marwan Boodai said.

Air travel has boomed this year, with international passenger traffic more than tripling in June as restrictions in most parts of the Asia-Pacific region were lifted, the International Air Travel Association (Iata) said last week.

Total air traffic in the month — measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) — rose more than two thirds compared with June 2021, primarily propelled by an annual surge in international traffic of about 230 per cent, the global aviation body said.

The results now put global traffic at about 71 per cent of pre-coronavirus levels.

Middle Eastern international air traffic posted the second-highest increase in June as it more than tripled from a year ago, with capacity more than doubling, the Iata report said.

Jazeera carried more passengers in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in the pre-coronavirus era, indicating a strong recovery of the travel industry from the pandemic, it said.

During the first half of 2019, the last full comparable period before the pandemic, the company carried 1.1 million passengers.

To capitalise on the surging air travel demand, Jazeera has announced plans to launch new routes.

The airline will continue to expand its fleet and number of destinations during 2022 as originally planned, maintaining a positive outlook for the rest of the year despite higher fuel prices since March 2022, it said.

“Jazeera has placed itself well to reap the benefits of the new market dynamics and was able, through its constant communication with its passengers and its analysis of the market, to return stronger than before,” Mr Boodai said.

“We launched new tourist destinations and started services to high traffic ones, and will continue our growth and progress throughout the coming quarters,” he added.

Jazeera’s board also recommended an interim cash dividend of 6.6m dinars, or 30 per cent of the share capital. The move marks the first time in its history that the airline is planning to make an interim cash distribution.

Updated: August 09, 2022, 8:20 PM