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Kuwait buys 25 Airbuses

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 19, (AFP): Loss-making state-owned Kuwait Airways Co signed contracts with Airbus Wednesday to buy 25 planes, its first order for new aircraft in more than 20 years, the airline’s chairwoman said. Under the deals, KAC will buy 15 A320neo and 10 A350-900 aircraft, with an option to buy 10 more — five from each category, said Rasha Al-Rumi, cited by the official KUNA news agency. Delivery is to commence in 2019. The second contract stipulates the lease of seven A320s and five A330s. They will start arriving in December and will all be delivered before next summer, said Rumi, who was appointed to the post last month. The value of the deals was not disclosed but local media put the figure at around $4.0 billion (2.9 billion euros).

KAC, which is being readied for privatisation, and Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding in December. Earlier this month, parliament called on its legal committee to investigate the new deals by KAC, and the probe should be completed within one month. The airlines has an ageing fleet of 15 Airbus and two Boeing aircraft. In addition to modernising its fleet, the KAC wants to become profitable before offering a 40 percent stake to a local or foreign investor. It has posted losses in all but one of the past 21 years, amounting to a total of more than $2.7 billion (two billion euros), which has been covered by the government.

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