Royal Jordanian Airlines Asks For A $282 Million COVID Bailout

The national airline of Jordan, Royal Jordanian, is looking for financial assistance from the government. Severely impacted by the travel restrictions against COVID-19, the airline is hoping to secure $282 million in state funds to help with its lost revenue. The funds would also help the airline with an order it has placed for new aircraft  Let’s take a look at the airline’s request and its current situation.

Royal Jordanian operates a total of seven Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. However, at the time of this article’s publication, one of these jets is listed as parked and inactive. Photo: Getty Images

Government assistance requested

According to Bloomberg, Royal Jordanian is looking for some $282 million in government bailouts. This funding request will help the airline on two fronts: First and foremost, it would allow the carrier to offset the revenue it has lost during the global health crisis. Secondarily, some of the bailout funds would help the carrier finance an order for new jets as it looks to double its fleet in the next five years. 

According to Royal Jordanian’s Chief Executive Officer, Samer Majali, financial assistance is being requested in at least two separate phases. The first round of funding would see an initial $141 million go to the airline to cover its operations throughout the first half of 2022.  The remainder would be distributed after this, with amounts and timelines unspecified for this portion.

“It’s to cover the losses incurred since the second quarter of 2020 and help us bring back our network and expand and renew our fleet…It’s less than we lost but it will be enough.” -Samer Majali, CEO, Royal Jordanian

The airline operates just two Embraer E175 regional jets. These aircraft have an average age of 13 and a half years. Photo: Fabrizio Gandolfo via Wikimedia Commons 

The situation at Royal Jordanian

It was late in March of 2020 that the Kingdom of Jordan made a decision to suspend passenger flights. Flag carrier Royal Jordanian had no choice but to comply and limit their operations to cargo flights only.

Media outlet Zawya notes that just over a month later, in May 2020, the airline was requesting a rescheduling of debt payments owed to leasing companies and banks. Al-Monitor adds that it was in July of 2020 that the airline was able to resume domestic flights, operating a thrice-weekly service between the capital city of Amman and Aqaba. However, with Jordan’s relatively small size, domestic operations are quite limited overall.

Details are scarce on when the Kingdom allowed international flights to resume. However, at present, data from FlightRadar24.com indicates that the airline has a relatively robust network of destinations, ranging from service to cities across the Middle East to cities further afield in Europe and North America.

Simple Flying reported in early October that the carrier is planning to resume its flights to Syria, after almost a decade-long pause in its Amman-Damascus service. This is an attempt to boost trade between Jordan and Syria. At present, it doesn’t appear that service has resumed.

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Flying as far away as Montreal and Chicago, Royal Jordanian deploys its 787s for these long-haul missions. Photo: Mark Harkin via Wikimedia Commons

Fleet renewal and expansion

Bloomberg notes that the airline is close to a decision on a major aircraft order, which will possibly be announced in January. As reported by Simple Flying in October, Royal Jordanian aims to double its fleet within the next five years. The new additions will likely come through a leasing firm and include either the Airbus A320neo or the Boeing 737 MAX, as well as the Airbus A220 or Embraer E2.

A request for proposals was issued in mid-October and is part of the airline’s five-year plan to grow the fleet and its destinations offered.

Do you think the airline will receive the financial support it has requested? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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