Royal Jordanian reduced losses by half in 2021-CEO

[22-01-2022 05:53 PM]

Ammon News - Royal Jordanian (RJ) President/CEO Samer Majali said the national carrier slashed its losses by half in 2021, compared to 2020, expecting to reach the equilibrium point next year by implementing a package of measures for growth and expansion in operations.

In his interview with "Petra," on Saturday, Majali noted the RJ is "still waiting for government support to enable the airline to overcome losses due to the Covid-19 induced repercussions."

RJ will not have the capability to compete and grow in the future if government support is not available, whose contribution in the company now stands at 85%, according to Majali.

On the airline's current financial situation, he said the Covid-19 pandemic-related repercussions have caused the RJ JD160 million in losses in 2020, in addition to accumulated losses in 2019 of about JD80 million, bringing the total to JD240 million.

Losses will soon affect the RJ's capital, which calls for "urgent" government intervention to save the airline that "suffered losses beyond its control" during the Covid-19 pandemic, Majali warned.

"RJ requested government financial support worth JD200 million to increase its capital," he said, stressing that the government has the responsibility to support RJ as a strategic tool for the Jordanian state to maintain operations worldwide.

RJ did not receive any support for its losses during the Covid-19 pandemic, like international airlines which received government assistance, in recognition of the level of impact of the Covid-19 crisis repercussions on their revenues that collapsed due to the suspension of global travel, according to Majali.

Regarding its flight expansion, Majali said the RJ has approved a five-year operational plan aimed to travel to 60 global destinations over the next five years, and building a "robust" regional aviation network through Amman.

Under the plan, he said the RJ will reach 60 global destinations up from the current 35 during the next five years, and will increase its aircraft fleet from the 24 current planes to 45.

Majali added that RJ is investing in "the Kingdom's capabilities as a center of economic activity in the region".

The new operational expansion plan comes after the RJ tackled years of stagnation caused by regional conditions and the Covid-19 crisis, according to Majali.

Majali announced resumption of RJ flights to Moscow, Copenhagen, Geneva and Zurich, with two flights per week, after travel suspension imposed by Covid-19 crisis restrictions, adding RJ has launched its new destination, to the Iraqi city of Najaf.

Majali voiced concerns about the spread of Omicron strain, which fueled people’s fears to travel, pointing to the decline in travel during the current month of January, despite previous "optimistic" forecasts of its recovery in 2022.

As for investments to support RJ, he said the airline is discussing re-investing in the travel support services, stressing the success of the privatization process of the RJ-supporting companies, even though their complete privatization was not "appropriate."

Majali added: "If RJ had acquired a stake in these companies when privatized, it would have helped the airline address the current economic conditions."

On the competition with low-cost airlines, Majali stressed that RJ is able to support group tourism to and from the Kingdom if the company receives government support and incentives granted to international low-cost airlines.

Regarding activation of IATA Travel Pass, Majali said the RJ will start using this mobile app within a month, which is in its final stages in preparation for its operationalization, in cooperation with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship.


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