Royal Jordanian Airlines and Air Arabia expanding fleets; Kenya Airways slumps

Royal Jordanian Airlines (+2.9%) was one of the few carriers to gain on Thursday (18-Mar-2010). President and CEO, Hussein Dabbas, stated during trading the carrier is scheduled to receive its first group of B787s in Oct-2013. The carrier ordered 11 B787s in 2006 and the current delivery schedule represents a delay from the initial schedule commencing in early 2011. Owing to the delay, Royal Jordanian is investing USD12 million in the upgrade of four A340 aircraft, while the carrier has added a 75-seat Embraer to its fleet. In addition, the carrier plans to take delivery of two A330s to service Southeast Asia and the Amman-London sector. Royal Jordanian’s current fleet of 29 aircraft includes 12 Airbus’ and seven Embraers. On network, the carrier plans to launch four times weekly Amman-Madina Munawwarah service and resume Kuala Lumpur service in May-2010.

Air Arabia (-1.0%) shares lost ground. It was announced during trading the carrier took delivery of its 19th A320 aircraft on 17-Mar-2010. The aircraft is leased from AerCap and powered by CFM56 5B4/3 engines.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Kuwait National Airways was flat.

In Africa, Kenya Airways (-9.4%) slumped after an incident during trading in which an aircraft reportedly made a hard landing. Also pushing shares lower was a slip in Kenya’s All-Share Index (-0.7%) for the second consecutive day.

1time Holdings (-4.2%) and Comair (-1.8%) were also down, despite gains in South Africa’s FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index (+1.0%) fell. Lonrho (+2.1%) was meanwhile up.

During trading, the World Bank forecast Sub-Saharan African economies will recover this year, growing by approximately 3.8%. However, the bank expects the recovery to be slower than other developing nations due to its smaller reliance on exports and large reliance on commodities. World Bank also expects the countries’ economies to grow 4.6% in 2011. It estimated the region’s economies grew by 1.0-1.1% in 2009.

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Selected African and Middle Eastern airlines share price movements (% change): 18-Mar-2010