KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Kuwait parliament on Tuesday passed the 2010-2011 budget of state-owned Kuwait Airways Corp. (KAC) with a projected deficit of 180 million dollars.
Revenues for the privatisation-bound airline are projected at 853 million dollars while expenditure is estimated at 1.033 billion dollars. The fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31, 2011.
KAC chairman Hamad al-Falah said last month the national carrier incurred a loss of 189 million dollars in the previous fiscal year.
The carrier has posted a loss in all but one of the past 20 years, accumulating losses of more than 2.5 billion dollars.
Parliament however rejected a recommendation from opposition MPs that called for suspending the privatisation of KAC until the accounting watchdog Audit Bureau conducts a probe into graft allegations in the airline.
Kuwait already has two private airlines, Wataniya Airways and the low-cost Jazeera Airways.
In March, the government formed a committee to probe allegations of widespread corruption in the carrier and vowed to refer the findings to the public prosecutor.
Communications Minister Mohammed al-Baseeri, whose ministry oversees KAC, told parliament on Thursday that the committee had completed the investigation last week.
Under a privatisation law passed in 2006, KAC will be transformed into a private company with a 35-percent stake to be sold at auction to foreign or local investors and 40 percent to be sold to Kuwaiti citizens in an initial public offering.
Twenty percent will be reserved for state-run institutions and the remaining five percent will be distributed for free to the Kuwaiti employees.
The airline has a fleet of 15 Airbus and two Boeing aircraft which it bought in the early 1990s.