The State of Kuwait is an important country, not only in the Middle East, but also globally.
It is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council and has more than 6 percent of the world’s oil reserves, therefore it’s no surprise that Kuwait is an important business aviation hub with a high number of flights annually.
In this article we’ll review some of the main operational aspects required for the successful operation of business flights into the country.
The country’s main airport is Kuwait International (ICAO: OKBK / IATA: KWI) which is situated around 15 kilometers from the center of Kuwait City – about a half-hour drive. The airport is a hub for Kuwait Airways, the national airline, and Jazeera Airways, a low-cost carrier in Kuwait. OKBK is operational 24/7 and is the main airport of entry for commercial schedule and non-schedule operations. The main international terminal is used for both commercial passenger and freight operations.
Sheikh Saad Terminal is a general aviation terminal that is used for all private and business non-schedule flights, while the Amiri Terminal is used for government and diplomatic flights only.
There are two other military terminals at Kuwait airport; the Kuwait Air Force terminal and the U.S. military terminal.
There is another airport in Kuwait, which is Ali Al Salem Air Base. Operation there is strictly military with regards to both cargo and passenger flights.
Landing permits are required for all types of flights operating into the country. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the authority responsible for issuing overflight and landing permits.
While the regulatory lead time required for applying for permits is 72 hours, Kuwait DGCA may issue the permit at shorter notice. Once issued, the permit is valid for 24 hours from the estimated time of arrival.
Kuwait Airport is not a slot-coordinated airport, but it is a congested airport, so securing a parking space through your local ground handling company will be required for the issuance of the landing permit. For this reason, Kuwait Civil Aviation Authority requires nominating the local ground handler in your permit application.
Besides the basic information about the aircraft operator and the aircraft itself, information about the purpose of the flight and the receiving party details are necessary for the issuance of the landing permit.
Kuwait Airways Handling, a subsidiary of Kuwait Airways and National Air Services, is the main commercial ground handler. Royal Aviation is the ground handling provider responsible for serving private and business flights being handled at Sheikh Saad Terminal in Kuwait Airport.
At Abdullah Al Mubarak Air Base in KWI Airport, CAV International is the only ground handling company available.
Besides the above, there are local supervisory flight support providers who act as station managers who coordinate all the services necessary for the smooth operation of the flight, besides the comfort of the passengers and convenience of the crew.
Kuwait Aviation Fuel Company (KAFCO) is the only aviation fuel supplier, and is the into-plane supplier in Kuwait. It is owned and operated by the government of Kuwait. KAFCO only accepts payment in cash or by accepted fuel cards, or through credible suppliers who have a supply account with KAFCO. KAFCO does not accept payment by credit card. AVGAS can be supplied in KWI, but requires pre-arrangement.
General Declaration with uniform and crew ID is sufficient for the crew to enter the country.
As for passengers, certain nationalities are allowed to enter with a visa obtained upon arrival. The list of nationalities includes: USA, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, the Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea and China.
Some other nationalities can obtain visas through Kuwait Airways offices, as the airline has an online facility to process the visa through the Ministry of Interior. All other nationals visiting for business are subject to visa rules requiring a local Kuwaiti sponsor for the visa issuance.
Kuwait Aviation Services Company (KASCO) is the only inflight catering provider in KWI as catering cannot be sourced from hotels or restaurants.
While it is a safe and stable country, Iraq, the country on Kuwait’s northern border, suffers from unrest and civil war, which makes pre-assessment of the security measures necessary for comfortable operation for the passengers and crew. KWI airport itself is subject to strict government security measures.
Based on the above, and for ease of communication, it’s better to book chauffeured transportation in advance before arrival rather than relying on an airport taxi. There are many international hotel chains available, in addition to budget hotels.
As a general rule, vaccination certificates are not required when entering the country, though travelers arriving from areas infected by cholera and yellow fever may need proof of inoculation.
The law of ‘5Ps’ says that ‘Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance’ – a valuable tip when planning of your international business trip to ensure the satisfaction of your passengers, crew and team.
Originally published at Blue Sky News.
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