Amman: Royal Jordanian Airlines is seeking public funding of around $ 282 million to help offset lost revenue during the pandemic and help fund an order for new jets. The carrier is seeking a first injection of 100 million dinars ($ 141 million) to complete the first half of next year, followed by another of the same amount later, CEO Samer Majali said.
Royal Jordanian understands the government has limited resources but needs help to stay competitive, Majali said. “This is to cover the losses incurred since the second quarter of 2020 and help us bring our network back and expand and renew our fleet,” he said. “It’s less than what we lost but it will be enough.”
The airline is one of many to have experienced financial difficulties as long coronavirus lockdowns have forced passenger planes to ground. A number, including Emirates and Deutsche Lufthansa, have benefited from government support to emerge from the crisis. Multiple borders have now reopened, but the emergence of the omicron variant has kept the industry uncertain.
Royal Jordanian is close to making a decision on renewing its short-haul and regional jet fleets with an announcement likely in January, the CEO said. The requirement will be met with new aircraft purchased through a leasing company, although some aircraft can also be purchased directly from manufacturers.
Royal Jordanian evaluated the narrow-body A320neo series aircraft from Airbus SE and the Boeing Co. 737-Max family, as well as the smaller A220 model from the European manufacturer and rival regional jets E2 from Brazilian company Embraer SA. The carrier, which currently operates A320s and older Embraer aircraft on shorter routes, also needs more Boeing 787 wide-body aircraft for longer flights, although this will be addressed later, Majai said.
According to a call for tenders published in October, the first major overhaul of Royal Jordanian’s fleet in a decade is expected to involve 30 new aircraft, with 17 to replace older models and 13 for growth. This step is part of a five-year plan to increase the number of destinations served from 35 to 60, starting with regional locations and expanding to medium and long-haul routes.