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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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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.
Europe’s LCCs have been slow to take up the opportunities created by the Dec-2010 Jordan-EU Open Skies agreement, undoubtedly owing to the Arab spring that has dented demand for travel to the country. easyJet was the first European budget carrier to launch scheduled services to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Competitors including Ryanair and Norwegian have not followed suit. This comes with the upside that Jordan’s flag carrier Royal Jordanian has been able to maintain its market share in a very adverse environment.
Europe inked a similar agreement with Morocco in Dec-2006 and Europe’s LCCs are now overwhelmingly present in the EU to Morocco market. The international LCC market share in Morocco has more than tripled from 12.4% in 2006 to 39.7% in 2011, and no-frills airlines already dominate the market between Western European and Morocco at present. Israel will be the next region to watch with the EU agreeing with the country to expand to it the common aviation market.
The lucrative yet delicate world of airline partnerships and alliances is set to receive the largest shakeup in recent years with the oneworld alliance actively exploring what its base would like with the addition of a Middle East network carrier – most likely to be Qatar Airways or, possibly, Etihad Airways. The addition of either would shift a mere 1% of the world's total air capacity, but the implications would be far-reaching.
The more likely outcome, however, is that British Airways and Iberia will partner with Qatar Airways while Qantas partners with Emirates. The remaining oneworld carriers will work out their position amidst the overlap. oneworld has never been a tight federation and British Airways and Qantas have their respective reasons to choose alternative paths. Already airberlin has aligned itself with Etihad, which could make oneworld the friendliest group to Middle East network carriers.
Royal Jordanian Airlines CEO Hussein Dabbas is on his way out of the Jordanian carrier after two and a half years in its top position. Mr Dabbas has led the Jordanian airline since Aug-2009 after spending more than 30 years at the carrier in various positions. He will leave Royal Jordanian at the end of Jun-2012, making way for “new ideas to develop the company”, the carrier said.
He will move to IATA as the industry body’s Middle East and North Africa representative. Mr Dabbas takes over from Dr Majdi Sabri, who will retire from IATA after the leading the association in the Middle East and North Africa region since 2001.
Abdul Rahman Al-Khatib will be the interim CEO while the company seeks a permanent replacement for Mr Dabbas.
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