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The Gulf often features prominently in discussions about civil aviation, but Kuwait is one name that rarely, if ever, gets a mention. Whereas Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar have over the years developed world-class hubs that hoover up and redistribute intercontinental traffic, Kuwait International Airport remains something of a minnow in the regional marketplace.
These contrasting fortunes are no accident of history. The UAE and Qatar are only now reaping the spoils of aviation after pumping billions of dollars into their ground and air infrastructure. Alongside weighty financial investment, long-term political vision in both countries has nurtured pro-aviation environments with low costs and liberal visa regimes. This has in turn given their state-owned flag-carriers – Emirates Airline, Flydubai, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – a solid foundation for commercial viability.
It is a very different story in Kuwait, where, despite immense national wealth and a vibrant political landscape, Kuwait Airways has floundered for decades...