Kuwait Airways has unveiled the airline’s new branding and livery in an announcement with Boeing today. The airline is taking delivery of a 777-300ER aircraft, and is using the opportunity to usher in a total brand transformation. Kuwait Times reports that these are the first step to Kuwait Airways’ “Transformation Strategy,” and will be a “once in a generation” event.
The aviation industry is seeing tremendous growth in the Middle East, and airlines from the region are making big investments. With the giants like Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad dominating the scene, Kuwait Airways has been a bit in the shadow. However, Rasha A. Alroumi, the chairman and managing director of Kuwait Airways, has also been hard at work re-branding and transforming the airline since she was appointed in 2013.
The airline’s branding is admittedly dated, and it seems that we are seeing the first fruit of this “transformation strategy” with a new logo. I think the new logo looks nice and modern, yet maintain the “classic” (old) bird silhouette.
But there are deeper challenges in transforming the airline. The airline still owns a few A300s and A310s, and is facing an aging fleet. The hard products are no longer competitive. For example, for their route between New York and Kuwait City, the 777-200 offers 24 angled flat First Class seats, in a 2-2-2 configuration, and 24 recliner Business Class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Their products on the 777 is simply do not stack up to competitors for a long-haul flight, though Kuwait Airways does price themselves somewhat accordingly.
That may be partly why Kuwait is hoping to turn things around. They have 10 Boeing 777-300 and 10 Airbus 350 on order, delivering over the next few years. This will help build one of youngest fleets in the region for the airline. They are also hoping the growing fleet will allow for new destinations, with routes to Los Angeles, Toronto, Boston, and Guangzhou.
During the event in Seattle, the airline unveiled what their 777-300ER will look like, in the handsome new livery. I personally think it’s an improvement over the old livery, though many on Kuwait Airways’ Facebook page disagree.
So what can we expect the onboard product to be on these new planes? Well, Kuwait hasn’t revealed them yet. However, we might be able to get some clue from the A330, which Kuwait Airways received (as a new operator) in 2015. According to their Instagram account, this is what they currently offer.
First Class passengers get reverse herringbone seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration. This is similar to what many Business Class products out there, though to be totally fair, there are still a number of airlines that offer something similar in First Class (ahem British Airways).
Business Class on the A330 have seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. As best I could tell, they are angled flat seats.
The Economy cabin features seats in 2-4-2 configuration, and actually look pretty decent.
These are dramatic improvements over what Kuwait Airways offers on their older planes. However, I don’t know that they are quite enough to help Kuwait Airways transform themselves into a world class airline with global appeal. Especially with strong competitions from airlines around the region, I think Kuwait might need more than a brand refresh to get the world’s attention. I definitely look forward to seeing what they have in store in the next steps of their transformation strategy!