Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways posted a net profit of KD15.4 million ($51.3 million) for 2015, reversed from a loss of KD2.8 million in 2014. The 2014 figure was skewed by a major restructuring of the airline that saw it undergoing a sale and leaseback of its fleet to an external lessor.
The latest profit was made on revenue of KD58.6 million, down 6.2% compared to 2014’s figure of KD62.5 million. Passenger numbers rose 4.5% to 1.22 million, up from 1.17 million last time, while capacity rose 3.5% and load factor climbed 1% to 69%.
The increase in capacity was due to better utilization of the airline’s fleet of seven Airbus A320s. One more A320 may be added next year, depending on passenger loads, Jazeera said Feb. 8.
Plummeting oil prices meant that fuel dropped to 22% of operating costs compared to 31% for the previous year.
“We had a fantastic year and have a very strong position for 2016,” Jazeera Group chairman Marwan Boodai said.
He announced that Jazeera’s plans for the coming year include a new business-class lounge at Kuwait International Airport.
The airport’s increasing congestion means Jazeera will also create a new off-site check-in facility from which passengers and baggage would be transported to the airport, he said.
Both new facilities are due to launch in 3Q 2016. Such improvements in the passenger experience means Jazeera believes it could raise load factors to the mid-70s over the next few years, he added.
Jazeera is building a new, dedicated passenger terminal as a longer-term solution to the overcrowding problem.
Recent disputes between neighboring Saudi Arabia and Iran have seen Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut air links with Iran, but Kuwait’s links remain in place.
Jazeera operates to a single Iranian destination, Mashhad, but Boodai said he anticipates more transit traffic through Kuwait to Iran this year—a possible indication that residents from the western side of the Gulf may make their way to Iranian destinations via Kuwait. Another, seasonal, Iranian route is likely to be announced shortly, he said.