Jazeera Airways Group announced the sale of 15 Airbus A320 aircraft owned by the Group’s fully-owned Sahaab Aircraft Leasing for USD 507 million (KWD149 million) as part of a strategic shift to a leased aircraft operation and a focus on the passenger airline business. The airline business is the Group’s star performer that today contributes 81% to the Group’s bottom line -up from 50% in 2011. The buyer purchasing the fleet is a joint venture between Investec Bank PLC and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited.

The transaction will result in additional cash surplus of KWD 24 million and will lift Jazeera Airways Group’s cash balance to KWD 82 million in 2015, transform it into an asset-light, debt-free company, and enable it to further grow its profitable airline business.

Jazeera Airways Group comprises two fully owned companies, Sahaab Aircraft Leasing and Jazeera Airways, which is a passenger airline based in Kuwait that operates leased aircraft from Sahaab Aircraft Leasing. The leasing company’s customers also include Virgin America, TAP Portugal, FlyNas, and SriLankan Airlines.

Jazeera Airways Group recorded a net profit of KD8.1 million for Q3 2014, an increase of 22.6% from Q3 2013’s KD6.6 million, making it the company’s best quarter in history and the company’s 17th quarter of consecutive profitability, of which 13 had record net earnings.

Jazeera Airways Group Chairman Marwan Boodai said “The move to divest from the leasing business, though profitable, by selling our fleet and continuing with a leased-aircraft operation was a strategic decision to enhance the airline’s business model and focus on future growth opportunities, boost shareholder value and enhance return on equity. The decision has unanimous support from our board of directors, the management teams of both our companies (Jazeera Airways and Sahaab Aircraft Leasing), and our local and international advisors.”