The Kuwait-based low-cost airline carried 1.1 million passengers in 2007 and now aims to raise that to 1.8 million this year, despite the impact of high fuel costs.

Speaking to MEED, chief executive officer Marwan Boodai admits that fuel had almost doubled as a percentage of the airline’s total costs since the carrier launched in 2006, but stresses that the Middle East market remains strong.

“We carried 600,000 passengers in 2006 and 1.1 million last year. We have projected that this will rise to 1.8 million this year,” he says.

“The impact of the rise in fuel prices has been huge but the economy is booming. When the airline launched, fuel costs were 26 per cent of the total, now it is 50 per cent. No airline can carry that cost by itself, we just have to fly more people and spread the cost where we can.”