Kuwait Airways to place $3b order

Kuwait City: Kuwait Airways plans to buy 12 Boeing Co and seven Airbus planes from Kuwait’s Aviation Lease and Finance Co (Alafco) for about $3 billion, a Kuwait Airways official said yesterday. The state-owned airline, which is looking to spend as much as $6 billion to replace its ageing fleet, will order the aircraft from the Kuwaiti lessor rather than the manufacturers so as to take delivery of them earlier, said the official, who did not want to be identified. Alafco, which is majority owned by Islamic bank Kuwait Finance House, has standing orders for some of the aircraft Kuwait Airways is planning to buy, including 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for delivery in 2010, the official said. Shopping list The airline also plans to purchase seven single-aisle Airbus A320s from Alafco for delivery in 2009, and take options for seven more, the official said. “We get the planes cheaper and quicker from Alafco,” the official said, declining to be more specific. Kuwait’s Al Watan newspaper reported the plan-ned order earlier yesterday. Ahmad Al Zabin, Alafco’s chief executive officer, could not immediately be reached for comment. Kuwait Airways owns 11.5 per cent of Alafco, which usually buys and leases out planes to airlines. In March, Alafco ordered 12 Boeing 787s and six 737-800s valued at $2.26 billion at list prices. In November it ordered six Airbus A320s. Shares in Alafco closed 1.75 per cent higher yesterday. Shares in Kuwait Finance House fell 1.5 per cent.