Jazeera Airways (J9, Kuwait) has put on hold its longhaul expansion plans in favour of building its presence in the Indian Subcontinent market.

The Kuwaiti carrier had previously alluded to partnering an established foreign carrier in the launch of intercontinental flights. Plans to acquire widebody aircraft were also mentioned.

However, speaking to Bloomberg this week, chairman Marwan Boodai said that while Jazeera Airways has identified multiple prospective partners, its decision to focus on the shorthaul market means its longhaul plans have been put on the backburner for the meantime.

“The opportunity for the Indian subcontinent was so overwhelming we had to redirect our resources to that,” he said.

Jazeera Airways will target the more than 900,000 Indian nationals residing in Kuwait when it launches its maiden services to the Subcontinent later this month. Boodai said initial services from Kuwait will cover Hyderabad Int'l in India and Lahore Int'l in Pakistan with Delhi Int'l, Mumbai Int'l, and Chennai to follow later in the fourth quarter.

At present, Jazeera Airways serves sixteen destinations in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, and Turkey using a fleet of seven A320-200s. Given the Indian market growth plans, two more A320ceo will be introduced by year-end.