Kuwaiti ‘no-frills chic’ airline Wataniya starts flights to Europe

In a home region where Gulf Gullivers Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad are rapidly becoming major global players, Kuwaiti carrier Wataniya Airways takes a no-frills chic approach towards flying. Launched in January 2009, the airline’s fleet of A320 aircraft are configured with premium economy and business class seats only, while prices are kept low. The airline says its A320’s are configured with the lowest seat density (122 vs. 145 seats on most airlines) of any A320 used on scheduled routes in the world.

Billing itself a ‘premium service airline’ Wataniya has its own dedicated terminal at Kuwait International Airport, and passengers have Wi-Fi access as well as USB and power ports in every seat. The airline’s premium economy class offers 96 seats with a 34-inch seat pitch and the 26 business class seats have a seat pitch of 44 inch. Wataniya currently operates five A320’s, a sixth aircraft is scheduled to be received in June 2010 and a seventh later in 2010. The airline is listed at the Kuwait Stocks Exchange.

In its first year of operations, Wataniya started routes to 9 destinations across the Middle East, and carried over 250,000 passengers. Now the airline is stepping up the competition on several routes to Europe and just announced it will start three-times-a-week services from Kuwait City to Istanbul (May 2), Rome (May 31), and Vienna (June 2). Return fares in premium economy from Kuwait to Rome and Vienna start at KWD129 (EUR330, USD445).

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FTE Asia 2014