Kuwait: Private participation takes flight"
With an announcement that a 35% stake in its national carrier is up for sale, the Kuwaiti government has taken another step towards privatizing Kuwait Airlines, a project that has been in the works since 2008. At the same time, efforts are under way to build a national railway, with the government recently signing a contract with a consortium of consultancy firms to undertake research on a proposed rail link between Kuwait International Airport (KIA) and the country’s ports. According to an August 1 statement by the privatization committee of Kuwait Airways, the government is seeking a strategic investor to buy a 35% position in the airline. The total share capital of the privatized entity, to be known as Kuwait Airways Company, has been valued at KD220 million ($806.7 million). “Any sale of the company must realign the airline towards a successful future entity that builds on the aspirations of the Kuwaiti people and the past successes of this national institution,” the privatization committee said in its statement. Joint-stock companies listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange and “specialized international companies” will be allowed to participate in the sale. While the latter could include global carriers, Kuwait-based airline operators, such as Jazeera Airways, have been explicitly barred from bidding. The government set a deadline of August 25 for the submission of initial expressions of interest (EOI). As of 1 September the Privatisation Committee of Kuwait Airways was examining the EOIs but had not yet released any details of the submissions. The government, through the Kuwait Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, will own 20% of the new company, while 40% of the stock will be sold to the public. Airline employees will hold the remaining 5% of shares. Last August the government announced that Citigroup, Ernst & Young and aviation consultancy Seabury would assist the government in the privatization process. Source: Oxford Business Group"
Gulf states push for rail projects"
Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are pushing ahead with multi-billion dollar railway projects, and key contracts are set to be awarded soon as the energy-rich Gulf states seek to boost local infrastructure to meet rising demand. Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, is expanding its railway network by adding 300-plus kilometers of railway lines after commissioning the 1,400--kilometer North South Minerals line earlier this year. The new lines comprise three projects -- the Ras Al Khair to Jubail, the Jubail to Dammam line and an internal Jubail network. Tenders for the first of these projects will be launched in two weeks, while tenders for the remaining two will be out in December and early next year, Rumaih al-Rumaih, chief executive of Saudi Rail (SAR) told reporters at the Meed Rail conference. SAR also plans to award the construction contract for six passenger stations for the North South Minerals line in the fourth quarter, he said, adding passenger operations will start in 2014 between Riyadh and Al-Haditha on the Jordanian border. Gulf states, under pressure to meet the infrastructure demands of growing populations, have announced multi-billion dollar plans in recent years. The UAE will start construction work on its $11 billion federal railways projects before the year-end, with contracts to be awarded within weeks,"" Etihad Rail chief executive Richard Bowker told the conference. Gas-rich Qatar is also pressing ahead to build a $35 billion countrywide railway network ahead of the soccer World Cup in 2022. The 350-kilometer network, which includes a metro in Doha, a country-wide rail line and a light rail is scheduled to be complete by 2020, said Geoff Mee, deputy CEO of Qatar Rail. The first construction contracts, which include nine packages for the metro and elevated railway line, will be awarded next July. ""We are on track and we are going to the market place in early 2012 to pre-qualify companies,"" he said. The metro will account for about 50% of the total project cost, he said, adding the project was fully financed by the government. ""The railway is important for trade between Qatar and Saudi and the rest of the Gulf and once you have it, everything is possible,"" Mee said. A planned Gulf-wide railway network is in the design stage, with construction to commence in 2014, Rumaih said. Source: Reuters"
Qatar to spend $45bn over road, rail"
Qatar will spend $45 billion over the next five years on developing the country's rail and road networks and $1 billion on a proposed crossing between the airport and Northern Doha, said a report. According to Business Monitor International (BMI), the country will see a growth of 11.6% to QR27.4 billion ($7.5 billion) during 2011 and continuing in an upward trajectory to the end of BMI’s forecast period to 2015. Existing project timelines are also likely to accelerate to meet other infrastructure requirements. The Qatari government has agreed to invest QR3 billion ($824 million) in 13 large infrastructure projects across the country through the Public Works Authority, Ashghal. Key road projects include a three-lane highway in Barwa City, the reconstruction of the Najma road and the development of the Doha Expressway, valued at $27 million. Source: TradeArabia News"
Air France-KLM splits $12bn jet order"
Air France-KLM has split a $12 billion order for long-range jets following a year-long competition, announcing plans to buy 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 25 Airbus A350s. The move is part of a plan to renew the fleet of Europe's largest airline and the order could rise to 110 of the next-generation aircraft including 60 more options. EADS unit Airbus said it expected to receive 35 of these. The deal follows months of politically sensitive negotiations during which the airline appeared to be pulled between pressure from French politicians to protect jobs at Toulouse-based Airbus and its own differences with Airbus over what caused the 2009 mid-Atlantic crash of an Airbus jet. The airline believes pilots have been wrongly blamed. Source: TradeArabia News"
Bahrain airport to award expansion contracts"
Bahrain International Airport (BIA) will soon award major new contracts for an expansion project, which will see the airport's capacity expand by nearly 50%, said a senior official. Work is also underway to acquire land for the massive expansion, said chief executive officer of Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) Gordon Dewar. ""We are on course to make BIA one of the friendliest airports in the world in the next few years,"" he said. ""There will be a lot of construction activity in all parts of the terminal building and beyond. We are committed to do that with the least possible bother to our customers - the passengers."" Dewar was speaking on the sidelines of an event to mark the start of the BIA Safety Week held at the Moevenpick Hotel, Muharraq. The safety week is under the theme 'stay safe - drive safe: be on the safe side, when you're on the airside'. It is organized by the BAC in co-ordination with Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA). Source: TradeArabia News"
Mubadala firm inks Air Europa deal"
SR Technics, a unit of Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development Company, said it has signed a new five-year integrated component solutions contract with Spanish airline Air Europa. Zurich-based SR Technics is a leading independent provider of technical services for civil aviation sector. As per the deal, Air Europa will also have access to SR Technics' components pool and component management services, covering a complete package of components including auxiliary power unit and engine line-replaceable units, the Mubadala company said in a statement. The new contract covers all aircraft - from Airbus A330 to Boeing 767, 737-800 aircraft types - and includes component exchange, maintenance and repair, and logistics services. SR Technics will manage component inventory pools in Zurich, Switzerland. Source: India Times"