Some 35% of citizens of the Emirate of Kuwait are regular fans of the Spanish football league, and such are their fans that those who can will be in the stands at the next Real Madrid-Barcelona derby in October. This is according to Maen Mahmoud Razouqi, CEO of Kuwait Airways, which has just restarted, forty years after it was interrupted, the direct route between the Kuwaiti capital and Madrid with three flights a week, which will be extended to four from next January. Razouqi's childhood memory is that the Kuwaiti national team played the only World Cup tournament in its history in Spain in 1982. "Let's see if they can organise it again and repeat the experience," he says with a mixture of hope and nostalgia.
Kuwait wanted to give the event a special touch, and prepared the signing of the code-sharing agreement with Air Europa for the development of this new route, which was suspended forty years ago, at the headquarters of its monumental and extensive embassy. In front of more than a hundred authorities, businessmen and journalists, the Ambassador, Khalifa Mohamed KH H Al Karafi, said that "this alliance symbolises and represents the ties of union and collaboration that exist between Kuwait and Spain, as well as between their institutions and companies". In this line, he insisted on the importance of continuing to strengthen and increase trade and cooperation channels between the two countries.
In turn, the Spanish ambassador to the Emirate of Kuwait, Miguel Moro Aguilar, expressed similar intentions, but, in response to questions from Atalayar, he stressed that the business plan will only be rounded off if the cargo is incorporated into passenger traffic, despite the explosion of bookings already confirmed for the next quarter. The diplomat pointed out that it is an anomalous effort that, at present, Spanish goods exported to Kuwait have to travel overland to Amsterdam to be shipped to the Emirate. Eliminating this costly additional stage and incorporating it into the new direct route will, in the Spanish ambassador's opinion, give a new and formidable boost to a trade that still moves in modest figures, 500 million dollars a year, but with extraordinary potential, especially because of the export capacity of our agri-food industry... "And textile", his colleague Al Kharafi hastened to point out.
These views are shared by Maen Razouqi, who declared that "this agreement will strengthen the commercial relationship between the two airlines, Kuwait Airways and Air Europa", as well as bringing the countries of the Ibero-American continent and the Arabian Gulf closer together thanks to the code-sharing system. The agreement already adds 17 new destinations to the Kuwaiti flag carrier's network, 10 of which are in Spain and 7 in South America.
Maen Razouqi, who then left for Toulouse to finalise the purchase of three new Airbus aircraft, also pointed out that this alliance will enable the two airlines to offer significant benefits to their passengers: more and better options for flight planning, and advantages relating to the purchase of single tickets, shorter waiting times and easier check-in and check-out processes.