Royal Jordanian will make a final decision on how to modernize its narrowbody fleet by July.

Speaking on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Seoul July, Royal Jordanian president and CEO Stefan Pichler said, “We are talking about an order of 22 aircraft. There are three possible aircraft fleet-mix scenarios [Airbus/Boeing/Embraer] on the agenda as well as the two engine manufacturers, CFM and Pratt & Whitney.”

The 22 aircraft will both replace older aircraft and allow for capacity growth. Royal Jordanian, a oneworld global alliance member, currently operates three Airbus A319s, six A320s and two A321s as well as two Embraer 170/175s, two E190/195s.  Its widebody fleet consists of Boeing 787s.

Pichler said the new narrowbody investment will total around $850 million and he expects to buy six aircraft and lease the rest.

While he is looking to growth, he wants to stay focused on Royal Jordanian’s core market.

“Our home market is the Levante region. We were able to increase our share of transfer traffic in Amman to 22% in 2018 and could reach up to 29% this year,” he said.

He also feels there will likely be some consolidation among Middle East carriers in the coming years.

“We are too small to survive independently,” he acknowledged. “We have to become profitable and become attractive as part of a wider solution in the future.”

Royal Jordanian posted a 2019 first-quarter net loss of JD5.2 million ($7.3 million), narrowed from a JD13.9 million net loss in the year-ago period.

“The first quarter was the most successful first-quarter result in the history of the airline. I believe the second quarter will be also very good,” Pichler said.

 

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at