Wataniya Airways

Kuwait Wataniya Airways (K.S.C.) (Arabic: (شركة الخطوط الوطنية الكويتية (ش.م.ك‎), doing business as Wataniya Airways (Arabic: الخطوط الوطنية‎), was a publicly-traded company on the Kuwait Stock Exchange. Wataniya Airways' hub was the Sheikh Saad Terminal in Kuwait while its corporate headquarters were on the property of Kuwait International Airport, Al Farwaniyah Governorate, Kuwait.[1]

Wataniya Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operationsJanuary 2009
July 2017
Ceased operationsMarch 2011
September 2018
HubsKuwait International Airport
Fleet size1
HeadquartersKuwait International Airport
Al Farwaniyah Governorate, Kuwait
Key peopleAli Al Fouzan (Chairman)
Rakan Al Tuwaijri (CEO)

The airline was founded in 2006 and received an Air Operators Certificate in July 2008. It started services with an Airbus A320 in January 2009 from the Sheikh Saad General Aviation Terminal and provided flights from Kuwait to destinations across the Persian Gulf, wider Middle East and Europe. Wataniya Airways was the first and only commercial airline to operate its flights out of a private terminal in Kuwait. Wataniya suspended operations in 2011 due to the non-profitable model of its product offering Business and Premium Economy classes only.

In July 2017 the airline resumed operations with an all Economy class product this time but was forced to suspend service again by Kuwait authorities in September 2018 for three months due to several delayed or cancelled flights leaving passengers stranded at airports, eventually, it closed down after its air operators licence was cancelled for not taking serious measures to resolve issues during the suspension period.[2]


Early yearsEdit

Wataniya Airways was formed as part of the Kuwait Government's liberalization of aviation services in 2005[3] and was founded by Kuwaiti corporations that include corporate giant Kipco which owns majority shares in the company. The airline launched a public offering of 350 million shares in January 2006, the equivalent of 70% of its capital of KWD50 million (US$188 million), and listed its shares on the Kuwait Stock Exchange by the end of 2008.[4] Wataniya Airways' visual identity was unveiled to the public in May 2008. The tail fin of Wataniya Airways' aircraft is purple, and features the internationally known symbol of Kuwait—the Kuwait Towers.[5] Wataniya Airways' A320 aircraft has a dual-cabin configuration composed of Business and Economy sections.[6]

Due to overcapacity on some flights, the airline decided in December 2010 to reduce operation, park three aircraft and lay off some employees.[7] On 16 March 2011, Wataniya Airways ceased all its operations because of financial difficulties and began discussions with its shareholders to determine the future of the company.[8]

Restart of operationsEdit

In August 2016, it was announced that the airline is considering resuming services. The decision to restart flights follows the company's settlement of debt talks with Kuwait Airways’ Kuwait Aviation Services Company. The carrier's legal claims with Kuwait's Aviation Lease and Finance Company (ALAFCO) are still under review in Kuwaiti court. Initial 17 destinations were mentioned as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq. In the second year, destinations in Lebanon, Jordan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and Spain were to be started.[9]

Wataniya re-received its air operator certificate (AOC) on 19 June 2017.[10] In July 2017, it was announced that the airline would restart operations from Kuwait International Airport to 3 destinations, Baku, Tbilisi and Sarajevo. The airline also announced 10 other new destinations will be added after the airline has completely begun operations.[11][12]

In November 2017, it was announced the airline had placed an order with Airbus for 25 A320neo aircraft.[13] In July 2018, Golden Falcon Aviation, the exclusive aircraft provider of Wataniya Airways, confirmed the order for 25 Airbus A320neo family aircraft.[14] In July 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show the airline announced it had placed an order with Embraer for 10 Embraer E195-E2 with options for 10 additional aircraft. The aircraft were due to begin being delivered in 2020, these aircraft would have a business and economy class and be the launch customer of the staggered seat business class offered by Embraer.[15]

Second groundingEdit

In August 2018, the airline was warned to be shut down by Kuwaiti authorities over insufficient reliability of operations stating frequent delays and cancellations.[16]

In September 2018, Wataniya Airways announced it would terminate the ACMI contract with Olympus Airways which operated two Airbus A320 series aircraft for them.[17] This left the airline with only one aircraft available, which additionally is grounded since several weeks due to engine issues.[18] On 3 September 2018, the airline suspended all operations until further notice.[19] On 7 September 2018, the Kuwaiti authorities suspended the airline's operational license for three months.[20]

Wataniya's AOC was revoked in December 2018 putting the carrier out of business again.


As of September 2018, Wataniya Airways operated scheduled services to 16 destinations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe from its base in Kuwait.[21]


Wataniya Airways Airbus A320-200 in former livery

As of September 2018 the Wataniya Airways fleet consisted of the following aircraft:[22][18]

Wataniya Airways fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A320-200 1[18] 12 120 132 grounded due to engine issue[18]

Wataniya had orders for twenty five Airbus A320neo[13] and ten Embraer E195-E2[23] with deliveries planned from 2020.


  1. ^ "Wataniya Airlines Confirms New Jeddah Route During Opening of its New Branch at the Discovery Mall." Wataniya Airways. Retrieved on 22 June 2010. "Wataniya Airways' headquarters at Kuwait International Airport,"
  2. ^ Kuwait aviation authorities revoke Wataniya Airways’ operating licence
  3. ^ "About Wataniya Airways: our Story". Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  4. ^ "Kuwait National Airways Announces KAMCO Will Manage Its Listing on Kuwait Stock Exchange" (Press release). Wataniya Airways. 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  5. ^ "Wataniya Airways Is Born" (Press release). Wataniya Airways. 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  6. ^ Laessing, Ulf (2008-05-26). "Third Kuwaiti airline to take off in January". Thomson Reuters. India. Archived from the original on 2016-01-23. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  7. ^ "Wataniya Airways drastically cuts its network". Air Transport World. 1 December 2010. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  8. ^ "News Channel - Homepage - flightglobal.com". Flightglobal.com. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Kuwait's Wataniya Airways resumes flight in mid-2017 - Wings Journal". 10 March 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Wataniya Airways to operate at Kuwait Airport - Transport - 19/06/2017". KUNA. 2017-06-19. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  11. ^ "Wataniya Airways launches 1st flight to Georgia". Kuwait News Agency. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Wataniya Airways eyes summer relaunch - News - Airfinance Journal". airfinancejournal.com. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Airbus confirms order for 25 A320neos from Kuwait's Wataniya Airways - Gulf Business". Gulf Business. 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  14. ^ "Kuwait's Wataniya Airways confirms order for 25 A320 planes".
  15. ^ "Kuwait's Wataniya Airways, Signs a Contract for the E195-E2". prnewswire.com. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  16. ^ atwonline.com - Report: Wataniya Airways threatened with closure by Kuwait authorities 27 August 2018
  17. ^ ch-aviation.com - Kuwait's Wataniya Airways axes Olympus ACMI contract 3 September 2018
  18. ^ a b c d aerotelegraph.com - "Wataniya Airways on the ground" 5 September 2018
  19. ^ "Kuwait's Wataniya Airways temporarily suspends operations". ch-aviation.com. 3 September 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  20. ^ atwonline.com - Regulator suspends Wataniya Airways’ AOC 7 September 2018
  21. ^ "Your Destinations". www.wataniyaairways.com.
  22. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2017): 19.
  23. ^ "FARNBOROUGH: Kuwaiti carrier Wataniya orders 10 E195-E2 jets". 2018-07-17.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Wataniya Airways at Wikimedia Commons