RJ opts for Embraer regional jets
Jordan’s flag carrier says the purchase of seven Embraer 195s will help it develop its short haul network.
Royal Jordanian plans to acquire seven Embraer 195 regional jets, four through outright purchase and three on operational leases from GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS). The planes will be used on short and medium haul routes in the Middle East, Arabian Gulf, North Africa and Europe.
“The aircraft will be introduced into our operations over the next two years,” said Samer Majali, president and CEO, Royal Jordanian. “RJ’s fleet will thus include 30 modern aircraft by the end of this period."
According to a statement from Royal Jordanian, its choice was made after conducting economic studies on the plane’s specifications and the benefits of operating it.
“Embraer airplanes enjoy several specifications that tally with operating on short and medium haul routes at a reasonable cost,” said Majali. “The Embraer 195s will offer our passengers a level of comfort and service consistent with the rest of Royal Jordanian’s fleet.”
RJ will configure its Embraer 195s to carry 100 passengers in a two-class layout, with 12 seats for what it calls ‘Crown Class’ and 88 seats in economy. Majali said that Royal Jordanian will use the Embraers to increase flight frequencies and launch new routes, although he did not elaborate further.
According to Richard Pinkham, a Singapore-based analyst, the Embraer 195 will help RJ develop services to cities in the Middle East.
“Their current regional workhorse — the 144-seat A320 — seemed like more capacity than they could consistently fill with good yielding traffic, and it was considerably more expensive to operate," said Pinkham. "This combination translated into a disincentive to build up frequencies to cities around the Middle East.
"The current lighter, smaller, aircraft will reverse that, which is an advantage that will become even more important when they start feeding oneworld traffic through Amman in early 2007, as they will be able to offer codeshare partners multiple frequencies to a wider variety of regional destinations than they otherwise could have."
RJ will soon join the oneword alliance, which includes major international airlines such as Cathay Pacific and BA.
For Embraer, the deal represents a big breakthrough in the region. With this announcement and Saudi Arabian Airline’s decision last year to acquire 15 Embraer 170s, the Brazilian manufacturer can claim to have made significant inroads in the regional market.
“RJ’s selection of our aircraft is a big honour and source of satisfaction for Embraer, it being the fist Arab airline invited to join the oneworld airline alliance,” said Federico Fleury Curado, executive vice president, Embraer. “Royal Jordanian’s decision confirms that, once again in its successful history, it is demonstrating true leadership in the market it serves.”
RJ’s announcement comes on the back of a positive set of annual results. It reported an audited net profit of JD21.7 million (US $30.6 million) for 2005, 33% above its forecast and 25% up on 2004’s figure of JD17.2 million.
Revenue reached JD387 million (US $545.84 million) in 2005, 12% up on 2004’s figure of JD345 million and 6% above forecast. The airline said in a statement that the results will support the government’s attempt to privatise Royal Jordanian.