Kuwait Airways Is Rebranding… But Will Anything Change?

While Gulf carriers like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar are known for their great service, the same can’t be said for Kuwait Airways. For whatever reason they have among the worst premium cabin products of any longhaul carrier.

Kuwait airways 2

For example, as of now the airline only has two 777-200 aircraft, and they features uncomfortable and tight recliner seats in business class (not even angled flat), and reclining seats in a 2-2-2 configuration in first class. As I wrote about last year, some airlines just shouldn’t bother with first class, and Kuwait Airways is probably one of them.

Fortunately Kuwait Airways is also taking delivery of some new planes, including some A330 aircraft. Those planes feature reverse herringbone seats in first class, which most airlines are installing in business class.

KU-New-F

Meanwhile they have recliner seats in business class.

KU-New-J

Clearly the issue isn’t the age of their fleet, bur rather that they just haven’t been focused on offering a competitive product.

Well, it looks like that could finally change… or at least that’s what the airline claims.

Kuwait Airways announces “once in a generation” rebranding

Over the next year Kuwait Airways will take delivery of 10 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which should give them huge expansion opportunities, since they presently only have two ultra longhaul aircraft.

Well, today Kuwait Airways revealed that they’re unveiling their “once in a generation” rebranding, including a new paint scheme and logo.

Here’s Kuwait Airways’ new logo:

kuwait-airways-logo

And here’s their new paint scheme:

kuwait-airways-rebranding

Here’s how they describe the rebranding, per the Kuwait Times:

Focusing on the physical changes, Kuwait Airways’ fresh new look retains a revision of the iconic blue bird, but now more prominently featured on the body of the aircraft – from the tail and across the rear end of the plane. The two-tonal blues denote a meeting of the sea and sky, signifying the point at which new horizons will be crossed. This forward-looking aspiration is then juxtaposed with the subtle inclusion of the pearl designs – a nod to Kuwait’s historic maritime and trading roots.

I really like this, and think it looks very sharp.

Of course it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so what I really want to know is what the cabins will look like on Kuwait Airways’ new planes. Will their new 777s finally feature competitive products, or the same product they have on their A330, which is extremely uncompetitive for longhaul flying? Then again, even that would be a huge improvement over what they have on their current 777s.

Kuwait’s management seems to suggest that they’re planning on a true revival:

According to the new livery’s designers, the branding change is more than just a cosmetic upgrade. Its purpose, they say, is to send a clear message to passengers, stakeholders and the community-at-large, that change is happening across and throughout the whole organization of the airline. To this end, the fresh, dynamic look will also be reflected in Kuwait Airways’ comprehensive approach to delivering on all areas of “operational, commercial and service excellence”.

“The launch of our new livery is an unreservedly clear statement-of-intent,” said Rasha Al Roumi, Chairperson and CEO of Kuwait Airways. “While the outward change to our aircraft will be obvious, we also hope to demonstrate that a much deeper and thorough transformation process is underway; one that will reassert our pioneering legacy in the region’s aviation industry and restore a sense of pride in the national carrier of Kuwait. Ultimately, such changes will be in pursuit of asserting our position as the preferred choice for passengers, linking Kuwait to the world,” Roumi added.

I’m curious if this is all talk, or if there’s actually substance behind this. I’ve been wanting to review Kuwait Airways’ product, though given the fact that they’re taking delivery of 10 brand new 777-300ERs shortly, I might hold off until they’re in service. I can’t wait to see what their hard product is like on this plane.

What do you think of Kuwait Airways’ new livery? Do you think they’ll actually improve their product?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Lucky, I’m kind of doubting you have a subscription to the Kuwait Times and monitor them for aviation news relating to Kuwait Airways, so you should properly start crediting your source for wherever you get this tipped information from. Simply just going to the primary news report and then writing your own analysis is disingenuous if the whole reason you were even alerted to the information is not properly sourced.

  2. According to some leaked seatmaps, Kuwait will feature 1-2-1 suites (hopefully suites – it’s not confirmed) in first class, Qatar A340-style business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, and economy plus (branded as premium economy) and economy both in a 3-3-3 configuration. Looks like they don’t have enough traffic for a 3-4-3 configuration, but I’m not complaining.

  3. The new logo is…well, not entirely new, but a nice evolution of the existing bird logo. As for the livery, the tail is fine, the rest is just another bland white fuselage with “billboard”-style naming on the front. Wow, how original.

  4. @keitherson

    If he’s anything like me, Lucky’s got news alerts set up to deliver articles, wherever they pop up, to his newsfeed.

    If a computer alerts you because you asked it to, who do you “credit” for the tip?

    Just my 2¢.

  5. @keitherson: Considering this blog and other airline related tasks are his job, it is not inconceivable ithat he combs the net on a regular basis for airline news. I do and it’s not even my job. Also, since he has been wanting to review Kuwait Airways for a while it is even more logical to expect he would keep a slightly closer eye on them. It is not uncommon for Ben to give a ‘tip of the hat’ or otherwise credit other sites or bloggers for information he posts, why wouldn’t he have done that if today was the case?

  6. If or when Kuwait Airlines ‘accept’ Israeli passports/oassengers THEN there’s a change; until then?

  7. “If or when Kuwait Airlines ‘accept’ Israeli passports/oassengers THEN there’s a change; until then?”

    Who gives a sh*t if they do or don’t?

  8. @Jacinda I mean it did cause them to have to cancel a route from NY which was probably the most obvious way any of us would fly them.

  9. Kuwait Airways seem serious about this re-branding. They are investing heavily and recruiting new expat managers to guide this process – in fact one of the new team is a good friend of mine and a reader of your blog (although he hasn’t started the new position and probably won’t reveal himself yet).

    That said, I have my doubts as to whether their realignment can realistically work. There is always going to be a market for labour traffic to/from Kuwait, but their ambitions are larger than that. The local market is tiny and capitalising on 6th freedom premium cabin traffic is difficult for a dry airline. No matter how well they execute, there is quite simply not enough traffic to go around and KU is already handicapped by their late start from well behind EK/EY/QR – not even considering GF/WY.

    I wish them well, but I’m not optimistic.

  10. Flew them from Istanbul thru Kuwait City to Colombo at the end of September 2016. Really poor service, evident they don’t care. Won’t be flying them again.

  11. @Sean M – I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. The ME carriers have built their businesses on connecting traffic, especially between the subcontinent and US, and Asia/Pacific and Europe and they do this extremely well. They have invested heavily in their product for years – new aircraft, fancy new hard products, impressive f&b operations, beautiful lounges, both hub and outstation. They are established players with excellent reputations. Kuwait has the very difficult task of trying to compete from basically scratch with these big players and have the added handicap of being a dry airline, so are unable to offer something their competitors already do.
    In order to compete given they already have the handicaps I’ve already mentioned, they need to offer something their competitors don’t. A reverse herringbone F and 2-2-2 J is not only lagging behind their competitors, its not offering pax anything incentive to fly with them.
    I can’t see this rebrand being competitive.

  12. @Petter N. – you realize that Kuwait Airways’ policy regarding Israeli passengers is due to Kuwait’s laws, not necessarily their own choice, right?

  13. I’d be thinking we’d see cabins like this sooner rather than later. With business class becoming more spacious and economy class getting tighter, many airlines are introducing premium economy to bridge the gap. Kuwait Airways’ business class looks like a higher end version of many premium economy products. I’m surprised it took so long for an airline to brand recliner seats as business class and full-flat, direct aisle access seats as first class. “Real” first class cabins these days are largely empty (Which you wrote a post about based on a question I asked in your forum.), so introducing cheaper reverse-herringbone seats as first class will increase premium-cabin passengers I’d imagine. And I’d bet that more people would be willing to pay for “business” class if it is simply branded as business class while maintaining premium economy prices. Business class just has a sort of prestige to it which may entice some middle-budget travelers to see it as worth it to shell out the extra cash.

  14. @ Zim — I might be missing something, but I don’t think that’s true. The KU J seats shown in that video are clearly angled (evident based on the lack of an ottoman), while Air India’s 787 J seats are fully flat and have an ottoman.

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