Today, Kuwaiti low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways is announcing that its fleet of 14 aircraft are now at the disposal of the State of Kuwait. This offer is to support the government’s efforts to return Kuwaiti nationals to the country while rapidly transporting much needed medical products and equipment.
“The airline has always placed its fleet at the service of Kuwait in times of crisis and continues to do so as part of its national duty.” -Jazeera Airways press release
All commercial flights to Kuwait suspended
On Friday, March 13th all commercial air travel in and out of Kuwait was suspended. The announcement was made by the Kuwaiti government, which includes the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Announced on the evening of the 11th, the news gave those wishing to travel very little time to react.
In fact, Kuwait was one of the first countries to impose a blanket travel ban and flight suspension across the board, regardless of country. Prior to this, Kuwait had published a constantly-changing list of countries that entry restrictions applied to. Early-on this included China and Thailand but grew to include the Philippines, Lebanon, Italy, and more.
The total ban on air travel has meant that a number of foreigners who normally live and work in Kuwait are unable to re-enter the country and return to their homes. On the other side, it has meant that tourists, visitors, and any other foreigners may be trapped within the country’s borders. In fact, land borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia have been cut-off as well.
At the service of Kuwait
Simple Flying asked Jazeera Airways how the airline has assisted Kuwait in the past, as described in its press release. The following examples were provided by a spokesperson:
- In 2006, the airline assisted in the repatriation of Kuwaitis during the 2006 war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah.
- 2011 saw the airline repatriate Kuwaitis during the period known as the “Arab Spring”. This included the Egyptian revolution, as well as Bahrain and Syrian situations.
- Finally, in March 2011 Jazeera Airways rescued stranded passengers who were affected by the sudden closure of Wataniya Airways. These passengers were let onboard scheduled flights free of charge.
Assisting customers, complying with government regulations
The airline is waiving cancellation and change fees for any bookings between March 7th and April 30th. In addition to this, the airline has had operational and precautionary
measures in place, coordinated under the directives of the DGCA and Ministry of Health.
In fact, Jazeera Airways is now building a dedicated auxiliary special medical facility in coordination with health and civil aviation authorities at its home base – Jazeera Terminal 5 (T5) at Kuwait International Airport. The new facility is a remote extension of the Jazeera Terminal and will be ready when the Kuwaiti Government announces the reopening of Kuwait International Airport to passenger traffic.
Do you think more airlines should be assisting their respective governments in this manner? Let us know in the comments.