Kuwait City: Kuwait Airways on Monday announced an expanded $6 billion deal with Airbus for 31 aircraft, restructuring a deal struck in 2014.
The deal comes after what the airline has described as sometimes “heated” negotiations following investigations into allegations of bribes surrounding the initial order.
“We have managed to agree on a monumental restructuring that will position Kuwait Airways in a much stronger place to succeed over the next 15 years,” company chairman Ali Al-Dukhan said during a briefing. a press conference.
The new agreement, which adds three new aircraft to the existing order of 28, includes nine Airbus A320neos, six A321neos, three A321neoLRs, four A330-800neos, seven A330-900neos and two A350-900s.
Al-Dukhan said the revamped deal, aimed at giving the airline greater flexibility after the travel industry was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, now carried a “total value of approximately $6 billion. dollar”.
“While corrections were made in 2018, the agreement required further corrections to accommodate the future of Kuwait Airways, particularly with the need to transition and become more flexible in a post aviation industry. -Covid,” he said.
The negotiations took place amid allegations of corruption that cost Airbus billions of dollars in settlement fees in other countries in 2020.
“When we started the negotiations, we knew we were already the underdogs, because 40% of the value of the deal had already been paid and the delivery had started,” Al-Dukhan said.
He added: “We entered four months of serious and professional negotiations, which were heated at times, but which always maintained respect and understanding of each other’s wants and needs.”
Kuwait Airways originally ordered 15 Airbus A320neos and 10 A350s in 2014, with delivery starting in 2019.
In February 2020, the Kuwaiti parliament opened a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of bribery, after Airbus paid huge fines to settle corruption cases in French, UK and US courts. .
As part of the settlement, Airbus agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in fines to settle corruption investigations into some of its aircraft sales.
Last week, the European giant announced record profits of 4.2 billion euros ($4.8 billion) in 2021, after two consecutive years of losses during the pandemic.
Aircraft deliveries rose 8% to 611 aircraft, Airbus said in a statement.