Kuwait Airways Expansion Hit Brickwall

Market shares erosion by PH carriers cause of discord

15 January 2016

Kuwait Airways (KAC) expansion to the Philippines starting April 2016 will hit a brick wall after its applications to transport passengers and cargoes for Manila - Bangkok - Manila route was put on hold by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) after the Philippine regulator obtains copy of Fawaz Al-Farah decision barring a Philippine carrier from exercising similar rights between Kuwait and Dubai.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of Kuwait earlier denied Philippine Airline's (PAL) request to transport passengers and cargoes between Kuwait and Dubai, which is inconsistent with the Air Services Agreement (ASA) amended and signed by the two countries in 2009.

Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) implemented an Open Skies policy since August 2015, while the UAE recently granted fifth freedom traffic rights to Philippine-based carriers.

Kuwait and the Philippines entered and signed the first ASA in 1977 and by series of amendments incorporated fifth freedom rights to any intermediate points. In 2009, flight entitlements between Manila and Kuwait was raised to eight, equally distributed in the Philippines between PAL and CEB.

“For Kuwait, we gave four flights per week each to PAL and Cebu Pacific,” says Maria Elben S.L. Moro, chief of CAB’s Hearing Examiners Division.

KAC propose to adjust operations to the Philippines, which sees frequency increase from 6 to 7 weekly.  It intends to operate 3 of 7 weekly flights as direct Kuwait  – Manila nonstop flights, with A340-300 aircraft, while the 4 flights continue to operate via Bangkok using A330-200 aircraft.

The Kuwaiti airline used to operate daily flight last year until it was forced to downgrade flight frequency upon the entry of CEB which offers 3 times a week A330-300 direct flight services to Kuwait last year.
KAC will also see further cuts to its Kuwait City – Bangkok – Manila flight vv. which will see service reduction from 27 March 2016, from six flights a week to as low as three as PAL enters Kuwait market in January 17.

According to airline sources in Manila, it is prepared to give up Bangkok and fly direct Kuwait City – Manila beginning 13 April 2016 although they are still studying the impact brought by the re-entry of PAL to Kuwait as to desired frequency mix which are profitable to them.

KAC is entitled to fly Kuwait - Manila to as many as eight times a week. Should Bangkok be axe, the airline proposes to service the route on new time slots:

Kuwait – Manila Kuwait
KU417 KWI0355 – 1910MNL 340 135
KU418 MNL2110 – 0135+1KWI 340 135

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