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Founded in 1963, Royal Jordanian is the national airline of Jordan. The carrier is based at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan and operates one of the largest networks throughout the Middle East, together with services to Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.
In 2007, Royal Jordanian was partially privatised, a rarity in the Middle East among flag carriers. The airline became a member of the oneworld alliance, also in 2007 and, until Qatar Airways becomes part of the alliance, is the only Middle East representative.
Location of Royal Jordanian main hub (Amman Queen Alia International Airport)
Royal Jordanian share price
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Nigeria’s aviation transformation programme is making good progress with the government’s extensive airport renovation project of 22 federal airports reaching the half-way stage and the remaining 11 airports to be remodelled by 2015.
Foreign carriers, attracted by Nigeria’s 170 million population and economic potential are also bringing in more capacity, in particular Ethiopian and Emirates, while Arik and Gol are preparing to reopen a direct link between Nigeria and Brazil for the first time in about 20 years.
But domestic carriers continue to struggle under the burden of massive debt, high operating costs and the prospect of increased competition from a proposed new national carrier and potential start-ups.
Royal Jordanian will never be comparable to Emirates, Etihad or Qatar Airways. The carrier has accepted that fact but only recently started to act strategically. This move has partially been driven by outside factors, such as the European economic crisis weakening the carrier’s once core European network, and regional unrest that has decreased North American traffic to the Middle East.
Now Royal Jordanian is looking to grow around the Middle East and North Africa. In Jul-2013 it started its first routes in recent memory to sub-Saharan Africa, opening Accra and Lagos. Royal Jordanian has benefitted from a lack of European LCC presence in Jordan, despite an open skies agreement, and its North American position may be sustainable in the medium term as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar are still either ramping up their services or face traffic restrictions. All three carriers are tangoing with Royal Jordanian’s anchor North American partner, American Airlines. In time, further soul searching will be in order.
Royal Jordanian profitable (again) and awaits the 787; cost reduction and codeshares are key focuses
After heavy losses in 2011, Royal Jordanian has reversed its fortunes and managed to scrape a narrow profit in FY2012.
The carrier has been buoyed by the result, even in a difficult year marred by continued unrest in neighbouring Syria and economic uncertainty in Europe, one of its largest markets. Even so, the indicators are that the carrier can continue its positive momentum in 2013.
By cutting marginal and loss making routes and substituting codeshares, services can be continued, while reducing losses. But, as the carrier receives 787s starting next year, new routes in Africa and the US are in Royal Jordanian's sights.
Algeria’s national carrier Air Algerie has announced plans to order 16 new aircraft as part of a government push to expand the airline’s international reach to attract investment and grow tourism – which lags well behind the rest of North Africa.
Air Algerie has ordered eight Boeing 787-8s, five 737-800NGs and three A330-200s. The 787s will replace three 767-300s as well as develop its long-haul network. The 737-800NGs will be used on domestic and regional routes on which Air Algerie enjoys a protected monopoly.
It is not clear whether all of the new 737-800NGs will be additional to the fleet or if some will be replacements for existing fleet of 22 737s, which includes five 737-600s and 17 737-800s manufactured between 2002 and 2011.
The A330-200s will be additional to the five A330-200s already in the fleet and will be used to open new long-haul routes to Johannesburg, New York, Sao Paulo and Shanghai.
As another Gulf Air CEO has come and gone, the Bahraini government again picks up the task of plotting a new path for the formerly multi-national airline.
The carrier’s board announced on 29-Nov-2012 that it had accepted the resignation of widely respected airline executive, Mr Samer Majali – which he submitted earlier this year – following the appointment of a new Gulf Air board in mid-Nov-2012. Mr Majali will remain in his position until the end of 2012.
And so the troubled and politically muddled airline stumbles onwards with continuing political meddling and no clear direction for its future. With Mr Majali's departure, the prospects for Gulf Air's recovery become even more slender.
In a parallel development, the Bahrain Parliament has also voted to replace the carrier’s entire board as well as wiping out two external consultancy contracts. A new board has been announced, led by the deputy premier and consisting of a mix of Bahraini parliamentarians, advisors to Bahrain’s royal court and representatives from the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, which has ownership of the carrier.
The global upheaval in airline alliances and partnerships will only intensify with the oneworld alliance expected to announce in New York City on 08-Oct-2012 the membership of Qatar Airways, sponsored by International Airlines Group (IAG). oneworld will seek to regain momentum after failing so far to secure an Indian and mainland Chinese member. It is also the smallest and loosest of the three marketing alliances and in recent years has had carriers frequently in financial straits, including Mexicana (now defunct), Malev (now defunct) Japan Airlines and American Airlines.
While Qatar's addition would indicate unanimous approval from oneworld carriers, it would not have been attained easily and does not guarantee all carriers are pleased. Qatar for IAG's British Airways and Iberia will be a deep partner while for others – chiefly Cathay Pacific, Finnair and Qantas – it will be a competitor and they must sort through how to integrate Qatar into their web at a time marketing alliances are losing lustre to a Middle East-centric approach. For this redirection of global aviation strategy, there is no guide. Qatar and oneworld are writing a new rulebook.
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