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Kuwait Airways to lease 8 planes

Kuwait City, April 8, 2008

State-owned Kuwait Airways Corp (KAC) plans to lease up to eight aircraft to expand its fleet, its chairman said in remarks published on Monday.

Kuwait Airways has received 'verbal approval' from the cabinet to lease six new planes from October until the end of 2009, Al-Watan newspaper quoted Hamad al-Falah as saying.

It is also negotiating a lease of two aircraft for the  summer season when most locals travel abroad to escape the desert heat, said Falah.

He did not say which make of aircraft or models could be considered under the lease proposals.
  
He said KAC is also considering flying new routes such as to Canada, Australia, Japan and South Africa.

KAC expects a loss of more than 20 million dinars ($75 million) in the 2007/08 budget year as fuel prices rose and it paid staff a wage raise, said Falah, without providing figures for the previous year.

The company could not immediately be reached for comment. Kuwait cancelled an order worth $3 billion for 19 Airbus and Boeing planes with Kuwait's Aviation Lease and Finance Co (Alafco) in August after MPs blocked the deal.

Kuwait's parliament approved in January a government plan to sell 40 per cent of the loss-making airline to the public and 35 percent to a long-term investor within two years.

The carrier, which lost most of its fleet during Iraq's 1990-1991 occupation of Kuwait, has 17 aircraft, according to its Web site. -Reuters




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