Kuwait Airways halves loss in 2022 on higher passenger revenue

The airline plans to break even in fiscal year 2024

A Kuwait Airways plane parked at Cairo International Airport. The airline currently operates 58 non-stop routes with 105 flights per day. Reuters.
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State-owned Kuwait Airways has slashed its loss by nearly half in 2022 as passenger revenue surged amid the airline's continuing transformation plan.

The carrier narrowed its loss for the 2022 fiscal year to 55 million Kuwaiti dinars ($178.6 million) from a loss of 107 million dinars recorded in 2019, state-run Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported, quoting Kuwait Airways chairman Ali Al Dukhan.

Total passenger revenue rose 11 per cent year-on-year to 289.1 million dinars in 2022 as the airline carried 3.5 million people, 2 per cent more than the previous fiscal year, the chairman said after the airline's annual general meeting on Sunday.

Load factors, a measure of how well an airline fills available seats, rose to 69.7 per cent in 2022, an increase of two per cent year-on-year. The number of flights rose 5 per cent on an annual basis to 25,000 flights.

“Kuwait Airways achieved actual better-than-expected results in 2022,” Mr Al Dukhan said.

Kuwait Airways' chief executive Maen Mahmoud Razouqi, left, and chairman Ali Al Dukhan during the airline's annual general meeting. Photo: Kuwait Airways

The improved results come as air travel demand has risen sharply with passengers travelling abroad for holidays and corporate employees returning to in-person meetings with overseas clients after a pandemic-induced travel lull.

This bounce-back was evident in aviation earnings last year and the first half of 2023, when many airlines in the Middle East and worldwide reported higher profits and healthier balance sheets.

The global airline industry's annual profit forecast for 2023 more than doubled on higher travel demand and lower jet fuel prices in the first half of the year, although economic and geopolitical risks continue to loom over the outlook.

The industry is expected to collectively earn $9.8 billion in net income this year, up from a December forecast of $4.7 billion, the International Air Transport Association said in June.

Kuwait Airways plans to break even in the fiscal year 2024. The carrier, which was established in 1954, has not posted a profit since Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, according to Bloomberg data.

“This is one of the first years where we have positive cash flow at Kuwait Airways, and this is part of our efforts to reduce our debt,” Maen Mahmoud Razouqi, the airline's chief executive, said at the AGM.

The airline, which currently serves 58 destinations and operates 105 flights per day, is forecast to carry 5.5 million passengers this year, Mr Razouqi said.

The carrier in July posted a record number of monthly passengers, carrying 485,000 people last month, its chairman said.

Kuwait Airways has so far taken delivery of 12 new jets, with 17 more coming in 2024 and 2025, he said.

Updated: August 21, 2023, 7:50 AM