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Kuwaiti Airline Wataniya Airways Suspends Ops – Again

Wataniya Airways' history already began in the late-2000s, when it first started as a regional carrier out of Kuwait-City with a small fleet of A320 aircraft but had to cease operations a few years later. In 2014, it was announced that the carrier plans to resume scheduled flights in 2015 and it did so with a fleet of A320 aircraft.

Everything went well for the airline until mid-August, when Kuwait's Civil Aviation Authority (DGCA) announced that it will be investigating the wet-lease of 2 A320 from Greek airline Olympus Airways to Wataniya Airways and set an ultimatum to Wataniya until September 6th to stabilize operations.

It is unclear what happened next, but one of Wataniya's own A320 (of which it had two) was in need of a new engine so it had to be grounded and the DGCA told Wataniya to immediately return the two leased A320 aircraft to their owner. After that, Wataniya only had one plane operational and didn't see any chance in operating all of their scheduled flights with only one plane.

On September 3rd, CEO Ali Al-Fozan told at a press conference that the carrier will be suspending operations because three of its four planes are not operational and it will resume flights as soon as possible. I think we all agree, suspended flights are not stabilized operations, so on September 6th the DGCA revoked Wataiya Airways' AOC for three months.

This is a big blow to Airbus and Embraer as the carrier signed orders for 35 brand-new aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow two months ago. It ordered 25 A320neo as well as 10 E195-E2, for which it would have been the first customer in the Middle East.