Kuwaiti budget carrier Jazeera Airways is to pursue plans to acquire a Middle Eastern airline this year as part of a strategy to reinforce its presence.

The carrier confirmed its intentions following its agreement to take over its closely-tied Sahaab Aircraft Leasing operation.

Jazeera Airways has not publicly identified a carrier target but has been seeking to expand through other bases.

The takeover of Sahaab, which leases Airbus A320s to Jazeera, gives the airline a "platform" to expand into other areas over 2010-11, says the carrier.

It states that an airline acquisition is among its plans, and a spokesman adds that Jazeera is looking at candidates within the Middle East region - but that it is giving away few other details.

Such a strategy could parallel that of Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia, which has expanded into Morocco and Egypt through airline and travel company joint ventures.

Jazeera also expects the Sahaab agreement - which will be completed by the end of March - to give it access to leasing markets worldwide, as well as a "predictable" revenue stream. For the first quarter of 2010, Jazeera expects Sahaab to contribute KD1.2 million ($4.1 million).

The airline will be "even more strongly capitalised to pursue its strategic ambitions", adds chairman Marwan Boodai.

Sahaab will have at least 38 A320s by 2016, as a result of Jazeera's total order for 40 of the type.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news