At 3,013 miles (4,849km), Kuwait Airways’ brand-new Kuwait to Manchester route is just over the 3,000-mile (4,828km) threshold considered long-haul. Its launch came a day after the reintroduction of Kuwait to Sharm El Sheikh.
On May 1st, Kuwait Airways inaugurated Kuwait to Manchester. Operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, it uses 134-seat A320neos. Low-capacity aircraft help to increase range, and these have 12 seats in business (not fully flat) and 122 in economy. The schedule is as follows, with all times local:
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Kuwait to Manchester: KU113, 06:20-11:45 Manchester to Kuwait: KU114, 12:45-21:35
Fellow Kuwaiti carrier Jazeera Airways planned Manchester flights in 2019. These were postponed, with the carrier subsequently receiving Manchester slots for summer 2022, based on the Airport Coordination Limited’s Initial Coordination Report. However, these were not taken up.
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Kuwait Airways’ passenger network to Europe, Turkey, and the Caucasus this summer. Manchester (highlighted) is the second-longest route after Malaga (AGP). Image: OAG.
35,000 P2P passengers
Booking data shows that the market had approximately 35,000 point-to-point (P2P) passengers in 2019, excluding passengers who flew from other airports in Manchester’s broad catchment area. Part of the demand is from nearly 3,000 Kuwait students who study in the Northwest.
7 Airlines From Manchester To The Middle East
P2P demand is crucial and, to a lesser degree, transit demand to the broader Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Only Bangkok, Chennai, Delhi, Kochi, Mumbai, and Tehran are connectable on a two-way basis with up to a five-hour wait and flying no more than 40% out of your way. These six cities had around 360,000 Manchester passengers in 2019.
Kuwait Airways’ low-capacity aircraft means it’ll have higher seat-mile costs. As such, it needs to fill its two cabins with higher-yielding P2P traffic and not lower-yielding visiting friends and relatives and tourist passengers transiting across Asia.
The first flights
The initial departure used 9K-AKM, a 2.3-year-old aircraft delivered to Kuwait Airways in January 2020. According to Flightradar24, it left Kuwait at 07:11, arriving 6h 35m later at 11:43 – two minutes ahead of schedule. The duration was about 20 minutes longer than PLAY’s first flight from Keflavik to Baltimore.
While KU113 arrived early, the return didn’t leave Manchester until 14:13. It was almost an hour and a half late, arriving home some 6h 2m later at 22:15. When writing, the aircraft hasn’t flown since.
The first flight to Manchester took 6h 35m. Image: Flightradar24.
Manchester to the Middle East
Manchester isn’t done welcoming Middle East carriers this summer. On June 1st, Gulf Air will begin a 2x weekly service from Bahrain.
Seven airlines will operate to the Middle East. Kuwait Airways and Gulf Air supplement Emirates to Dubai (3x daily), Qatar Airways to Doha (18x weekly), Etihad to Abu Dhabi (1x daily), easyJet to Tel Aviv (4x weekly), and Saudia to Jeddah (4x weekly).
However, there is no sign of Oman Air’s return (it served Manchester from May 2017 until 2020) or Saudia from Riyadh (June-September 2017).
Will you be flying from Manchester or Kuwait this summer? If so, where are you going? Let us know in the comments.
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About The Author
(771 Articles Published)
Route Development Analyst – James lives and breathes route development. Educated in Air Transport Management at Loughborough and Cranfield, James was Market Opportunity Analyst at London Luton Airport and Chief Analyst at anna.aero. Now writing data-driven analysis for Simple Flying. Based near London, UK.
From James Pearson