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Kuwait Airways' New Washington Flights Will Be The Longest Airbus A330-800 Route

Summary

  • Kuwait Airways will begin Kuwait to Washington Dulles
  • It is a new route for the carrier
  • Dulles is Kuwait’s largest unserved North America market



Kuwait Airways has added Washington Dulles to its network, despite not being a Star Alliance member. Beginning in December, it will become the world’s longest Airbus A330-800neo route. I previously wrote about the type’s unpopularity and surprisingly short flights. The airport pair was last served by United Airlines between 2006 and 2016; it appeared to revolve around US government business.


Kuwait Airways adds Washington Dulles

Taking off on December 15th, the route was listed in the schedules earlier in August, but I have been away and therefore have not covered it. Nonetheless, it is a significant development. It is Kuwait Airways’ second US destination after New York JFK, which switched to the A330neo in March 2023.

Operating three weekly, Dulles will also use the 235-seat A330neo, with 32 seats in business and 203 in economy. However, from what I can tell, Kuwait Airways does not have crew rest areas in the type, so some business class seats will not be sold, reducing sellable capacity.

Kuwait Airways Airbus A330-800

Photo: Airbus.

The 6,575-mile (10,581 km) route is scheduled as follows, with all times local. Assuming Dulles operates year-round rather than in winter, even the A330neo may encounter a payload restriction when departing at 08:00 due to Kuwait’s exceptionally hot summers. This could further reduce the economic performance of the route.

  • Kuwait to Dulles: KU115, 08:00-13:55 (13h 55m)
  • Dulles to Kuwait: KU116, 16:30-13:00+1

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Kuwait’s largest unserved market

Booking data shows that Kuwait-Dulles had more than 35,000 roundtrip point-to-point passengers in 2019, making it the Middle East airport’s largest unserved market in North America.

As expected, Dulles’ timings are similar to its daily service to JFK. In December, JFK flights leave at 09:05 (08:00 to Dulles) and arrive back at 13:00 (the same time).

Kuwait_A330-800neo

It means most of the same places JFK passengers go (via Kuwait) will also apply to Dulles, albeit to different degrees. Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE will be especially important.

The world’s longest A330-800 routes

This version of the A330neo is very unpopular with carriers, with only Uganda Airlines and Air Greenland using it commercially alongside Kuwait Airways. It remains among the world’s rarest commercial aircraft in service.

While it may change, here are the longest routes this December-February as of mid-August. Notice how quickly the sector length tails off into sub-long-haul territory, with long-haul defined here as 3,000 miles (4,828 km) or more. You would not necessarily realize the variant was very much built for range.

Miles (km)

Max block time*

Route

Airline

A330-800 flights

Find flights

6,575 (10,581)

13h 55m

Kuwait to Washington Dulles

Kuwait Airways

Three weekly

Click here

6,352 (10,223)

13h 20m

Kuwait to New York JFK

Kuwait Airways

Daily

Click here

3,531 (5,683)

7h 45m

Kuwait to Bangkok

Kuwait Airways

Four weekly**

Click here

3,261 (5,248)

7h 35m

Kuwait to Casablanca

Kuwait Airways

Weekly**

Click here

2,898 (4,664)

4h 40m

Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen

Air Greenland

Up to six weekly, but generally four

Click here

* Either direction

** Also sees other types Dec-Feb

Where else would you like Kuwait Airways to fly? Let us know in the comments.

Sources of information: OAG, Cirium, US DOT T-100, booking data.

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