Kuwait Airways has just taken delivery of its first Airbus A320neo, marking the first in a long line of Airbus deliveries to the carrier.
Who is Kuwait Airways?
Kuwait Airways is the national carrier of Kuwait. It flies to 43 destinations with a fleet of 29 aircraft. Its long haul fleet is made up of 10 Boeing 777-300ERs, and five A330-200s. Its short-haul fleet is comprised of 11 A320-200s.
As you might have guessed, these A320 aircraft are around 20 years old (three of the A320s were pushing 28 years and have already been placed in storage) and in 2013 this issue came to a head when the airline got a ‘reputation’ of having an old fleet.
To fix this problem, Kuwait Airways made a massive order with Airbus to revolutionize and modernize its fleet. The airline ordered five A350-900s, eight of the infamous A330-800neos and 14 Airbus A320neos.
The delivery of this first A320neo is significant because it represents the first of a new generation of aircraft for the airline, who is on track to have one of the youngest fleets in the Middle East.
“The delivery a milestone in Kuwait Airways’ 65th-anniversary celebrations, marking an important step in the airline’s ambitious fleet renewal and growth plans, which will phase-in 15 A320neo aircraft to its fleet in the coming years, following a purchase agreement signed in 2014. “ – Airbus Press Release
What are the details of the new aircraft?
Announced in a press release this morning, Airbus was pleased to tout how Kuwait is now the proud owner of its first neo aircraft.
These new aircraft already have the advantage of fuel efficiency over the existing A320-200 fleet. By phasing in the neo over the next few years, the airline will see massive gains to their bottom line. This aircraft was originally set to be delivered in March (with another two A320neos delivered on top of the first by now) but the delivery was delayed until now.
As well as this, the neo brings with it a number of customer improvements such as quieter engines, better pressurization (helping to mitigate the effects of jetlag), LED mood lighting, in-flight entertainment systems with seatback screens, bigger overhead bins and a variety of other improvements.
The aircraft will be configured in a “spacious two-class layout, including 12 business class and 122 economy class seats”.
What routes will it fly?
It is not clear yet if the plan is to replace their 11 A320-200 fleet entirely with the A320neos or if they will use both aircraft in parallel to expand their network. According to International Flight Network “With the addition of the newer Airbus jets, Kuwait Airways plans to phase out some of its leased A320ceo jets that are currently part of the fleet.”
The aircraft also has a bigger range than the original A320s, at 3,300 nmi (6,112 km) vs 3,450 nmi (6,400 km), which may be useful in opening additional routes to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Otherwise, the aircraft will see action on routes to India, and around the Middle East.
What do you think about this news? Will you be flying on the new Kuwait Airlines A320neo? Let us know in the comments.