Kuwait may sign plane deal in May, Airbus favored: source
By Sylvia Westall
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait is studying plans by its airline to buy 25 Airbus jets, a source with knowledge of the matter said, in the most sweeping overhaul since part of its fleet was seized after Iraq invaded the Gulf state in 1990.
The proposal calls for state-owned Kuwait Airways KA.UL to buy 25 new Airbus jets and to lease a further 13 to upgrade its fleet but needs government approval, the source said. It could be signed by the end of this month.
The move comes months after Kuwait was awarded $500 million by Iraqi Airways for damage caused when former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces seized aircraft and parts, ending a two-decade row over compensation.
The Kuwaiti airline's aircraft buying committee judged that Airbus made the most attractive offer in a tender process which included bids from Boeing (BA.N: Quote) and Bombardier (BBDb.TO: Quote), the source said.
The source declined to be named because the deal still needs government approval.
In August 2007, Kuwait Airways cancelled an order for 19 passenger planes worth $3 billion from local lessor Alafco ALAF.KW after failing to get government approval.
Under the new proposal, Kuwait Airways would pay around 850 million dinars ($2.98 billion) for the 25 new planes, which would include 10 wide-bodied A350-900 jets and 15 of the slimmer medium-haul A320neo, the source said.
Such an order would be worth $4.38 billion at list prices, but aircraft are usually sold at a discount. Continued...