Royal Jordanian plans narrow-body jets order
Royal Jordanian is planning an order of 18 narrow-body jets to refresh its fleet of older aircraft as the airline, based in Amman, starts to reap some benefits of a five-year turnaround plan, its chief executive said.
The jet order is pending approval of the company’s board this month, Stefan Pichler, chief executive of Royal Jordanian, told The National yesterday at an aviation conference in Dubai.
The airline is seeking to replace 15 jets and add three new aircraft to its Airbus and Embraer narrow-bodies.
“We will discuss it in October with the board and hopefully then reach a conclusion and can move ahead,” Mr Pichler said, declining to reveal the aircraft types that will be ordered.
The airline, which is 85 per cent government-owned, embarked on a five-year turnaround strategy in 2017 to shrink years of accumulated losses, repair its balance sheet and return to the capital market – by issuing equity to investors again – by 2021.
The plan includes adding destinations and growing the fleet, adding capacity to existing routes, launching fare promotions and expanding the activities of loyalty programmes. Its narrow-body fleet includes Airbus A319, A320, A321s and Embraer E175 and E195 jets. The turnaround plan is beginning to bring benefits since the restructuring began in 2017, according to Mr Pichler.
“We made some good progress so far,” he said. “We’re bolstering our cash position, we are decreasing our debt-to-equity ratio, so we’re getting healthy and that’s the most important measures we have right now.”
Progress thus far has been driven by higher revenues, increased load factors, higher average fares and better productivity of both jets and employees, he said.
The airline is on track to record a net profit in 2020 while its third-quarter financial results, yet to be announced, will give “further indication that we’re moving in the right direction”, Mr Pichler said, declining to provide figures.
Royal Jordanian expects to carry 3.5 million passengers this year, he said.
The airline is seeking to replace 15 jets and add three new aircraft to its Airbus and Embraer narrow-bodies