Royal Jordanian has decided to purchase 20 new narrowbodies to meet its expansion goals.
Royal Jordanian has announced a purchase order for 20 new Airbus A320neo aircraft. The new aircraft will replace the airline’s 13 A320s already in service. The airline has also stated that it is discussing acquiring more Boeing 787 long-haul aircraft, with plans to increase its fleet of 787s from 7 to 11 in the coming years.
The announcement of the new aircraft acquisitions came in an email from Royal Jordanian, as reported by Bloomberg, which also included the update on the 787 negotiations. The airline operates many short to medium-haul routes across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, primarily using its A320s for these routes. As it has been looking to expand, the airline was deciding whether to order the A320neo to replace its current fleet or the Boeing 737 MAX.
Ultimately the airline has opted to acquire the neo to help further its expansion plans. The reduced operating costs compared to the A320s it already flies will help it increase its profit margins allowing more room for network expansion. Royal Jordanian’s CEO Salem Malaji shared why the company chose to purchase the neo. Malaji stated,
“The A320neo aircraft family is the best choice for fleet replacement and growth for Royal Jordanian in the coming few years for its core short and medium range operations”
Later in the statement, the airline shared that it is undergoing negotiations with Boeing to obtain four additional 787 aircraft. It already has seven of these fuel-efficient widebodies, which it uses for its longest routes. So far, the airline has been impressed with the aircraft’s performance and sees it as a valuable asset in expanding its long-haul networks. Malaji said, concerning the 787,
“Negotiations with Boeing are also ongoing, for RJ to grow its B787 wide-bodied fleet in the same time frame followed by the replacement of its current fleet.”
Unfortunately for Royal Jordanian, the COVID-19 pandemic considerably set back production of the 787. Only recently did Boeing begin to deliver more 787s since the pandemic started. However, the airline appears to be patient and does not expect to acquire these aircraft for several years.
Plans for growth
One year ago, the airline announced a plan to expand its fleet and services over the next five years. The airline plans to increase its fleet of 24 aircraft to 40 aircraft by 2026. On top of the Airbus and Boeing aircraft it intends to acquire, the airline has also been looking at expanding its fleet of regional aircraft. As these discussions are ongoing, it has yet to decide which aircraft will be chosen to fill this role.
With the additional fuel-efficient aircraft, the airline plans to open more routes in every region it serves. It will hire nearly 50% more flight and cabin crew to operate these aircraft. Its expansion plans are primarily concentrated in the Levant region, which includes Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Syria. Many of the new A320neos will be used to fly the long routes in the region, while the airline will utilize regional aircraft for the shorter routes. The airline plans to open more routes into neighboring continents and even a transoceanic flight to Washington, DC.