Jazeera unveils big expansion plan
Kuwait, February 9, 2009
Kuwait-based budget carrier Jazeera Airways has announced plans to launch flights to five new destinations and also add more aircraft to its fleet during this year under its 'Freedom Forever 3' plan.
The airline unveiled its strategic plans and vision for the year in front of the regional media and airline industry stakeholders in Kuwait, providing an update on the airline’s current position.
The airline presently boasts of 55 routes flying to 22 destinations. 'Our commitment to tight cost control; and the success of our new Dubai hub as a complement to operations in Kuwait, has meant that we have established a strong platform for growth in coming years,' said Jazeera Airways chairman Marwan Boodai.
'Despite having to contend with so many external issues such as the global financial crisis, as an airline we have done exceptionally well in staying on top in the local aviation industry, thanks to our spirit of innovation and service,' he noted.
'The sale and leaseback of our existing fleet and our 40 aircraft delivery positions to Sahaab Leasing has meant that our airline is cash rich and free of debt – giving us a very strong position going forward, especially now that oil prices have substantially reduced,” he added.
According to Boodai, the airline had increased its capital over the past year to KD20 million, ($73 million), and following its January 14 listing on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, witnessed oversubscription of shares by six times; growing to five times their par value.
'We also received four brand new aircraft during the last year from our firm order of 40 Airbus A320s thus bringing our total fleet size to eight.'
'We launched five exciting destinations, Istanbul, Doha, Khartoum, Sana’a and Deir Ez Zoor increasing our network to  destinations; while delivering exceptional value and service to our passengers and shareholders alike,' he added.
He said the airline has planned a series of key initiatives for this year, which will enable it to build on its excellent results of 2008.
These initiatives focus on the launch of five new destinations, and the accelerated delivery of two new aircraft which will support the start-up of further new routes in the year ahead, he noted.
Boodai stressed that Jazeera will make a substantial investment in the airline’s commercial infrastructure to make it easier to book on Jazeera and will offer a revised pricing structure.
'This reflects the abolition of fuel surcharges and the airline’s commitment to offering fares at 25 per cent less than legacy competitors.'
Upgraded reservation systems, an improved check-in process and expanded sales teams across the airline’s network will offer passengers an even better experience. Improvements will also be made to the in-air, on-board service, he added.
Boodai went on to explain how the airline’s management team has been strengthened, by introducing the new members of senior staff that were recently appointed to the airline.
Boodai will continue to oversee the airline’s operations as chairman, while a new CEO – Andrew Cowen - will manage the airline’s day-to-day running.
Cowen, formerly CEO of Sama Airlines in Saudi Arabia has additionally held senior roles at Go Airlines in the UK and British Airways.
Steven Greenway, formerly CCO of SkyEurope Airlines and senior manager at Virgin Blue in Australia and Virgin Atlantic in the UK was additionally introduced as the airline’s chief commercial officer; while John Turnipseed was introduced as the new VP of HR.
John formerly held the role of VP HR at Eos Airlines and Southwest Airlines both in the US.
Commenting on the 2009 outlook, Boodai said, “We are very excited about the coming year. There is very strong potential for us to grow our operations in the Middle East, especially with such low market pen