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Kuwait lawmakers clear airline privatization plan

KUWAIT CITY (AP) -- Kuwait's parliament has approved a privatization plan for the struggling flagship carrier Kuwait Airways that includes a special government-appointed panel to oversee the transition.

But Wednesday's report by the official Kuwait News Agency gives no timetable on opening the carrier to outside investors. A preliminary draft earlier this month suggested the process could take up to three years.

The plan includes a seven-member board to run the airline and provisions for some employees to be reassigned to government posts or received buyouts.

Kuwait Airways faces several challenges, including high labor costs, an aging fleet and stiff competition from other Gulf carriers such as Qatar Airways and Dubai-based Emirates.