Kuwait’ budget airline Jazeera Airways is the latest carrier to announce a hefty loss in the first half of 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions introduced in the second quarter.
Operating revenue for H1 2020 was KD26.7 million and the net loss was KD9.9 million, the carrier revealed on Wednesday.
Air Arabia and Etihad Airways recently announced losses of tens of millions and hundreds of millions, respectively, as they have been forced to face up to the pandemic.
Commercial flights at Kuwait International Airport were suspended for close to five months from 13 March to 31 July while operations resumed on 1 August with limited capacity and a mandated 14-day quarantine for all incoming passengers.
“2020 is without a doubt an exceptional year with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic affecting every sector of the economy, and to the largest extent, the travel and tourism sector worldwide,” said Jazeera Airways’ chairman, Marwan Boodai.
“We have taken full responsibility to ensure our business continuity as a private company at a very early stage of the pandemic.”
During the suspension of commercial flights, the airline redirected its capacity and capabilities to operating full-cargo and charter flights as well as supporting government efforts during the pandemic, mainly with the repatriation of Kuwaiti nationals.
Boodai added: “Our goal by the end of 2020 is not the bottom line, but our readiness for the following year, the year 2021. Aggressive controls and elimination of fixed costs are underway, including the restructure of aircraft leases, in aim to make significant savings this year, along with ensuring the long term health of our company.
“Jazeera Airways maintains a strong balance sheet with minimal debt, which is an exception for an airline. Our financial reserves are also strong enabling it to withstand difficult conditions for at least two more years.”