Royal Jordanian currently possesses two Airbus A310 freighters which fly a regular schedule to destinations in the Middle East, Europe as well as to New York’s JFK airport. The airline also utilises its passenger aircraft to carry freight on 43 additional routes.
In October, RJ announced several additions to its freighter schedule, the first being a new weekly service to London’s Stansted Airport. This flight will double the airline’s freighter capacity to the UK capital, as it will supplement an existing weekly cargo flight to London Heathrow. RJ’s wide bodied daily passenger flight to Heathrow also provides capacity for lower deck freight.
Stansted, the UK’s fourth busiest airport, handles around 13 per cent of the country’s air freight and is well connected to other airports and ports via direct motorway and rail links. Geoffrey Weston, appointed RJ’s Vice President, Cargo earlier this year, said, ‘The UK and Europe are important and growing markets for us. Our Jordanian customers have been clear that they want more options for exports. Our cargo volumes have increased strongly since last year and we are keen to connect the Levant with the United Kingdom.’
The London expansion has been followed, this week, by two new routes in the Middle East. RJ Cargo is to commence a weekly flight to Beirut and a twice weekly flight to Cairo within the next fortnight. RJ hopes the new services will facilitate the intra-regional flow of goods and, with the likely addition of more routes to the cargo operation’s schedules in the near future, help emphasise Amman’s position as a developing regional air freight hub.
Royal Jordanian’s cargo business is certainly moving in the right direction if its most recent financial results are anything to go by. The airline saw its overall freight revenue increase by a solid nine per cent in the third quarter of the year, with passenger flight cargo revenues up six per cent and freighter income up 12 per cent.
RJ’s cargo division is a key component of the airline’s profitability and last year it generated around 20 per cent of total revenue. Samer Majali, RJ’s President and CEO said the third quarter rise in revenue was particularly encouraging given the stiff competition and expansion in freight capacity in the region. Indeed, earlier this month, Dubai’s carrier Emirates signed a $2.8 billion deal with Boeing for ten 747 freighters, which will massively expand its cargo capabilities once the aircraft start arriving in 2010.
With more cargo routes being revealed and more freight volumes being anticipated, Royal Jordanian has pumped funds into a major refurbishment of the cargo warehouse at Queen Alia International Airport. The first phase of the project, which sees the largest investment in the facility in 20 years, is set to be ready early next year. Alongside this, logistics firm DHL Jordan is spending several million dollars on creating a 40,000 square foot regional hub at the airport.
RJ’s focus on driving forward its cargo business and facilities is just part of a wider push to upgrade its air and ground services. Hussein Dabbas, Royal Jordanian’s Vice President, Marketing said, ‘We aim to be the most professional, helpful, progressive and cutting-edge airline in the world. Much work is being done towards improving and upgrading our customer service and relations – all aimed at establishing a regional and global leadership position for Royal Jordanian.’
Wednesday, November 1- 2006 @ 12:20 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.