Kuwait Airways is undergoing a major restructure and upgrade as part of its plan to privatize after two decades of being burdened with old, inefficient aircraft, staff protectionism and a bloated workforce of 6000.It has signed a deal to purchase 25 Airbus aircraft and lease 12 planes while it waits for the new ones to be delivered from 2019. Its present fleet is an average of 20 years old.
CEO Rasha Al Roumi, who was appointed in December, told Arabian Business in April she wanted to reduce the workforce even further.
“My target is 4500 but I can’t do that this year,” she said.
Al Roumi said it would take at least three years to make the airline profitable and therefore attractive to an investor.Kuwait’s parliament first approved a plan to privatise the loss-making carrier in 2008 but the process has been repeatedly delayed.
Last year, the Kuwaiti government paid off KD441m ($1.55bn) worth of debt accrued by Kuwait Airways in preparation to sell the national carrier.The debt had been accumulated since 2004.
- Encyclopedias to replace expats-
Kuwait is planning to replace foreign legal workers who each have at least 30 years’ experience with an online legal encyclopaedia, according to Al Qabas daily.The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is forcing the lawyers to retire as part of its efforts to reform the industry and increase the number of Kuwaiti lawyers.
However, critics have said the country does not yet have the required expertise to replace the foreigners, many of whom have helped to build the country’s legal system and have advised on government policies and draft legislation.Sources told Al Qabas the ministry would launch a legal encyclopaedia as well as electronically linking the Ministry of Justice and the Fatwa and Legislation Department to make gaining legal information easier.