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Royal Jordanian January passenger traffic up 25 percent year-on-year
Royal Jordanian said on Sunday passenger traffic rose 25 percent in January from a year earlier despite the impact of regional unrest on the aviation industry.
February 27, 2012 12:50 by Reuters
RJ’s President and CEO Hussein al-Dabbas said a record rise in traffic to 213,000 passengers in January compared to last year in a traditionally slow month also pushed up its seat occupancy rate that month from a year earlier by 11 percent.
Dabbas said the rise bucked a downward trend in a region that has witnessed a decline in “travel especially from Europe and the Far East” due to Middle East turmoil and unrest in Syria, the kingdom’s northern neighbour.
The state airliners’ passenger traffic grew 6 percent to 3.2 million passengers in 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
RJ’s operating revenues grew 6.3 percent to 683 million dinars ($963 million) compared to last year despite a 20 percent rise in its operating costs, mainly on the back of higher fuel prices.
Jordan sold 71 percent of the airline in an initial public offering at the end of 2007. Foreign investors — including the Beirut-based investment firm controlled by Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s family, which acquired a 19.5 percent shareholding — now own at least 33 percent of the carrier’s capital.
Local investors, including the government which still retains a 29 percent stake, have a majority to ensure the carrier maintains it’s right to fly under bilateral accords.
Royal Jordanian, which serves 60 destinations, announced some cuts earlier this month in flights to uneconomic destinations, as part of plans to reduce operating costs.
The carrier has expanded its daily flights to Libyan destinations to capitalise on a fast growth market, primarily composed of thousands of Libyans seeking medical treatment at the country’s private hospitals since the toppling last year of Muammar Gaddafi. ($1=0.709 dinars) (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi)