OUR national carrier, with its ‘blue bird’, flies over the compound of the government’s failure in many aspects. It has been a continuous fall since the dismissal of its chairperson, Captain Sami Al-Nisf, due to his dispute with the minister of transportation.
We hoped for the best from the leadership of its own member, where he was bred to acquire operative and commercial expertise but that was cut short by ill-studied government decisions, or perhaps, well-studied decisions which made Kuwait Airways fall from grace continuously such that it fell prey to those waiting for its complete collapse in order to devour it to the bones — to us and to public fund.
We will not talk about the latest crisis of our national carrier — the referral of 40 of its captains for retirement, for whom Kuwait Airways Corporation spent millions to educate and train them. Now with their experience, they are going from one ‘diwaniya’ to another, playing with their smart phones or being taken on a golden platter for free by prosperous airline companies in the region.
I will not talk about what was raised recently that led to Parliament’s political questioning of the minister regarding the unimaginable financial allocation for officials of this ailing company.
I will not talk about reports prepared by the State Audit Bureau on violations which the administration continues to perpetrate, given that nothing comes out of it apart from disastrous failure. The latest failure is its slackness in demanding dues from travel agents and tourism offices.
We will not talk about threats to leadership of the company and the people of Kuwait to suspend a vital direct flight to Europe (Geneva) if the well-guided government does not compensate for the losses of the company, and scores of crises which we continue to hear daily and have become disturbing in terms of the condition of our national carrier.
However, today I will talk about the consequences of failures incurred by Kuwaiti passengers and others who were proud of their national carrier that took them to most places in the civilized world. The ‘blue bird’ flies to become a ‘lame duck’. Together with other airline companies, it continues to exploit the vacuum caused by very expensive tickets and worn-out planes because the field lacks actual capacity of the national carrier.
Last week, my daughters headed to one of the major European capitals for a short vacation on board of that capital’s carrier — huge plane but worn-out. Departure from that capital was delayed for four hours. The reason was some passengers, who had checked in and took boarding passes, failed to appear.
This means the luggage of passengers who did not appear must be removed, but the cargo door of the plane did not open and attempts to open it took exactly four hours.
The plane took off and reached its destination four hours late. As I mentioned before, it was in one of the major capitals where, again, the cargo hatch did not open, prompting passengers to go to their hotels or head to other destinations without their luggage.
Whoever had that capital as their final destination received their luggage after two days, making us wonder how long it took for passengers on transit and those headed to other destinations to receive their luggage.
The affront, mockery and lack of giving importance to Kuwaiti passengers or passengers from Kuwait by foreign carriers are due to the absence of a local competitor. This is the reason behind our national carrier’s stumble years ago and it never stood up again up to this day.
We dedicate this to the honorable relevant minister of the failed entity and to oversight agencies — on top of the list is our Parliament. Perhaps, their oversight might fix the spirit in that entity of mockery.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil