Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways expects to make a profit this year, even though it reported a $7.6 million first-half loss. “We are going to be profitable for the full year,” said chief executive Stefan Pichler, who joined the airline in June from a position as chief commercial officer at Virgin Blue. The low-cost carrier plans to open a second hub in 2010, having dropped routes to Beirut, Delhi, Mumbai, Salalah and Sanaa this year.
“Our strategy is to become a multi-hub, multi-market operator,” said Pichler. He believes the wider Middle East market is undersupplied and offers better growth potential. Jazeera flies 10 Airbus A320s and has ordered 30 more for delivery through 2014.
Pichler pointed out that while the Arabian Gulf states account for just 28 percent of the entire population of the middle East, its major airlines–Qatar, Etihad ad Emirates–supply 80 percent of seats in this market. Carriers from other Middle East states provide only 20 percent of seats despite having most of the population.