Merger for Jordanian

ROYAL Jordanian Airlines (RJA) could merge with a larger carrier, reveals its resigning chief executive officer.

Hussein Dabbas says the national airline is open to merging but is not for sale.

“We are reviewing options and talking to airlines to see when the time is right for us to do something,” states Dabbas.

“With the pressure we are seeing from mega-carriers around the world, whether European or regional, to continue as we are is going to be a difficult game to follow.”

Dabbas, who will step down on 1 June after three years in the post, also disclosed the airline saw gains in the first quarter of 2012 after a ‘turbulent’ 2011, during which its traffic was affected by political unrest and competition from Gulf-based airlines.

He expects the second and third quarters to see more traffic with lower oil prices reducing costs.

The airline’s operating revenue grew by 6.3 per cent last year. However, statements show operating costs also rose with RJA losing US$82m.
It also abandoned four routes this year and cut frequencies on others.

Dabbas said he is studying all remaining destinations with a view to either reducing capacity or stimulating traffic.

The carrier joined the Oneworld alliance of major airlines, which includes American Airlines and British Airways (BA), in 2007.

Although Willie Walsh, chief executive officer of International Consolidated Airlines Group – the parent of BA, says mergers will most likely happen between existing partners, Dabbas has not stated whether a transaction involving another Oneworld member is likely.

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