Jordan airline seeks eight Boeing 787s: CEO

AMMAN - Jordan’s state airline will finalise a deal soon to buy eight Boeing 787 planes in a fleet modernisation plan aiming to make it the top regional carrier in the Middle East, the airline’s CEO said on Wednesday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 28 Feb 2007, 8:55 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:31 PM

Royal Jordanian (RJ) President and Chief Executive Officer Samer Al Majali said the airline was in final negotiations with Boeing Co to part purchase and lease at least eight new 787-8 DreamLiner planes for delivery at the start of 2010.

The deal will be worth around $1 billion.

‘We have already finalised the contract with the leasing companies and with Boeing it will be within the next month or two,’ Majali told Reuters ahead of leaving to Tokyo for a meeting of Oneworld, where RJ will become the first Arab firm to join the alliance of major airlines.

The decision to introduce the 787, whose first test flight is planned for this summer, was part of a modernisation plan to expand its fleet to 35 aircraft from 24 by 2010.

‘We are in the process of finalising the agreement with Boeing. At the moment we have approval to go for eight but the fleet may be expanded in the future,’ Majali said.

Majali said a high credit rating for RJ, which aims this year to be the first regional national carrier to be privatised, would allow it to secure attractive financing for the deal.

Half of the eight Boeing 787 planes would be purchased and the rest leased, he added.

Long range operations

The Boeing 787 was the best plane to replace RJ’s A340 and A310 fleet for medium to long range routes with its rival Airbus A350 facing delivery issues, Majali said.

‘In the time frame we are looking to replace the A340 there is no suitable replacement for long range operations,’ Majali said.

RJ’s fleet modernisation has already brought into service eight new A320 planes since last year to tap fast growing routes in the Middle East, the Gulf and Europe.

Four new Airbus A320 planes will be introduced in the next two years, Majali said, adding Airbus was the most suitable plane for RJ’s medium range routes.

Two of the seven Brazilian Embraer 195 jets purchased last year to serve regional destinations have already been delivered and the remaining five will come into service within a year, Majali said.

RJ is cashing in on growing regional travel which saw passenger traffic jumping around 18 percent last year boosted by liberalisation of air policies in the Middle East that cleared restrictions on foreign carriers, Majali said.

He added the fleet modernisation should enhance RJ’s standing ahead of a government sale of a majority 74 percent stake to investors planned by year end.

‘When you are being privatised people want to make sure you have a sound, ambitious yet realistic plan for the future,’ he said.

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