Royal Jor­da­nian plans nar­row-body jets or­der

The National - News - - BUSINESS - DEENA KAMEL

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

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