Royal Jordanian Airlines’ returning CEO has big plans for the carrier, including a near-doubling of the fleet within the next five years. The new additions to the Amman-based airline will include either the Airbus A320neo or the Boeing 737 MAX, as well as the A220 or Embraer E2.
Double the planes, double the routes
Royal Jordanian has announced a new five-year plan that will see the airline modernize its fleet. In addition to becoming home to an additional 21 aircraft, Queen Alia Airport in Amman will also see the launch of between 30 and 40 new routes – doubling the number currently operated by the national airline.
The airline is considering the Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus A320neo for its narrowbody needs. Furthermore, it is looking at the Airbus A220 or the Embraer E2 family for regional operations. Royal Jordanian says it is all set to issue a request for proposals to lessors this week.
The airline’s newly re-appointed Chief Executive Officer, Samer Majali, has held the position (this time around) since March 31st, 2021. Mr Majali disclosed the new plans for his airline to UAE media outlet the National a couple of days ago.
“We’re repositioning ourselves to be the carrier of the Levant, as we did 20 years ago. The size of the airline is small but the brand is very strong,” Mr Majali told the online newspaper.
Furthermore, the carrier is set to hire between 40% and 50% more cabin crew, pilots, and maintenance staff in order to support the growth of operations. Royal Jordanian intends to grow its network throughout the Middle East and especially the Levant region, which includes Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. Palestine also belongs to the geographical classification but has no functioning airport.
New destinations will include Alexandria in Egypt and northern cities in Saudi Arabia, while the carrier will up its frequencies on flights to Iraq. Globally, Royal Jordanian aims to serve Washington D.C. as well as more destinations in Europe, and resume flights to the Far East.
The flag carrier of Jordan operates a somewhat modest fleet of 25 aircraft. The average age of its planes is 11.5 years – although this is slightly deceptive. The airline still maintains one Airbus A310 for cargo purposes. With its near 34 years, the plane somewhat distorts the overall age of the fleet.
While the A310 is by far the oldest machine in Royal Jordanian’s fleet, the seven Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners based in Amman are the most recent addition and all between seven and four years old.
Royal Jordanian also operates five Airbus A319s, six A320s, and two A321s, as well as four Embraer aircraft – two ERJ-175s and two -195s. With a mixed fleet, it is not entirely clear what the best option would be going forward.
If Royal Jordanian was looking to purchase aircraft outright, it would make sense to go with A320neos and A220s and get as good a price as possible. However, lessors are less concerned about brand loyalty. Could we see another MAX operator in the Middle East, joining the likes of flydubai?
What aircraft do you think Royal Jordanian will add to its fleet? Leave a comment below and let us know.