KUWAIT : Kuwait Airways is now in talks with the government and local banks to finance its plan for the $4.4 billion purchase of 25 new Airbus aircraft. The purchase of the jets is the first significant renewal of the troubled airline's ageing fleet in more than 20 years. KAC will also lease 12 additional Airbus planes to help supplement fleet operations until the new planes, which are scheduled to arrive starting 2019, can enter service. According to local reports, Kuwait Airways is now considering offers from local banks to serve as lead financer and arranger. It is also in talks with the Kuwait Investment Authority (which holds a majority share in the state-owned airline), to determine what, if any, part of financing the government may contribute. A reported plan indicates that local banks would finance 75 percent of the deal with foreign banks or the government covering the remaining 25 percent. Meanwhile, Kuwait Airways insiders denied allegations that a deadline to finalize the Airbus deal ( a memorandum of understanding was signed in December) expired yesterday. Kuwait Airways reportedly paid a KD 3 million advance when it signed the MoU. Jan 7 was the suggested signing date but Airbus later agreed twice to a KAC request for an extension "until the buy and lease contracts are examined by the concerned authorities within KAC," according to an Al-Qabas report quoting unnamed sources. KAC Chairman of the Board and Managing Director Rasha Al-Roumi reportedly met Monday with Airbus representatives to discuss details regarding the deal including financing. "Al- Roumi explained that the KAC needs from one to three months to study offers and select the least costly one." In related news, former Kuwait Airways Board Chairman Sami Al-Nisf has filed a case of libel against Minister of Communications Essa Al-Kandari , alleging that the minister offended him in remarks published last month. Nisf also demanded that the Public Prosecution contact Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al - Ghanem to lift Kandari's parliamentary immunity so that he can stand before court. By A Saleh All rights reserved.
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