Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways plans to start flying on more routes this year as higher demand for travel helped the low-cost carrier post record profit.
Profit last year surged to 20.1 million dinars ($66 million) from 7.1 million dinars a year ago. That missed the average analysts’ estimate of 26.5 million dinars.
The airline will maintain a tight focus on costs, with the first quarter of this year “looking very healthy,” Chief Executive Officer Rohit Ramachandran said in an interview on Tuesday. Profit last year was weighed down by an additional burden of 9 million dinars in fuel costs.
Load factors rose toward the end of last year and remain high this year in excess of 80% on average, thanks to “everything opening up and more people traveling,” Ramachandran said. In-sourcing maintenance has had a positive impact on costs and the airline now has about 60 staff per aircraft on average, he said.
Jazeera plans to expand this year, after launching 15 new destinations in 2022, Ramachandran said. “In addition to those, we’ve got a raft of new destinations planned for this year,” with flights to Moscow, which started this month, being “the first of many to come.”
The vast majority of new routes Jazeera introduced are previously unconnected to Kuwait, he said. The company, which expects to carry over 4.5 million passengers this year, up from 3.6 million last year, has zero debt and cash reserves in excess of 50 million dinars.
Jazeera currently operates an all-Airbus fleet, comprising 11 A320neos and 8 A320s. It’s organically growing its fleet by four units this year, and three units next year, through leasing aircraft, Ramachandran said.