January 17, 2018 / 4:27 PM / 2 years ago

Kuwait's Jazeera Airways load factor rose to 74.5 pct in 2017 - CEO

KUWAIT, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Kuwaiti budget carrier Jazeera Airways filled around 74.5 percent of its available seats in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 5.5 percentage points, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Jazeera Airways added three new routes last year, including starting flights to Doha, Qatar, shortly after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt banned direct flights to the country in June.

The budget carrier is targeting to fill close to 80 percent of its available seats this year, Chief Executive Rohit Ramachandran told Reuters at an air show in Kuwait.

Jazeera Airways is adding two jets to its fleet of seven Airbus A320 aircraft by February. Its network expansion this year includes adding flights to Indian cities Ahmedabad, Kochi, and Mumbai.

The airline intends to cut its cost per passenger to 55 euros by the end of 2019, down from 90 euros per passenger today, and 100 euros per passenger in 2016.

Ramachandran said Jazeera Airways was increasingly focusing on improving ancillary revenue, including through food and beverage and baggage charges.

Jazeera Airways will release its 2017 financial results in the coming weeks, Ramachandran said. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Mark Potter)

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