Jordan Airline faces financial challenges amid Israel-Gaza war

Royal Jordanian Airlines is confronting significant hurdles as the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict and delays in aircraft deliveries from Airbus disrupt its operations and fleet modernization efforts, according to CEO Samer Majali. The airline, headquartered in Amman, has experienced a notable dip in bookings during the first quarter of 2024, a traditionally slow season further weakened by the war and the Ramadan period. This has particularly affected European tourist arrivals, a key market segment for the airline.

Majali highlighted the broader issue of regional tourism suffering due to perceptions that conflated the conflict in Israel and Gaza with the entire area, unfairly impacting countries like Jordan. In response, the airline has shifted focus towards increasing transit passengers and Umrah pilgrims, though not with complete success.

The conflict, which has raged since October 7, has not only dampened travel demand but also led to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with thousands of casualties reported. Amidst increasing international calls for a ceasefire, Royal Jordanian anticipates a potential rebound in travel during the latter half of 2024.

Compounding these challenges are significant delays from Airbus, affecting the delivery of A320neo and A321neo aircraft, crucial for Royal Jordanian’s fleet upgrade plans. These delays, attributed to issues with suppliers including Pratt & Whitney and seat manufacturers, have pushed back fleet renewal timelines and exacerbated supply chain difficulties across the aviation industry.

Despite these setbacks, Royal Jordanian is proceeding with its fleet renewal program, having recently added Embraer E195-E2 jets, with more deliveries expected through 2025. The airline is also venturing into the cargo business, reflecting a strategy to diversify and adapt to changing market conditions.

Although facing a projected loss for 2024, Royal Jordanian remains optimistic about achieving break-even or a slight profit, contingent upon an improvement in the geopolitical landscape. The airline’s efforts to expand its route network and renew its fleet underscore its commitment to navigating through current challenges and emerging stronger in the post-conflict and post-pandemic travel landscape.–News Desk