Jordan sees a future in aerospace

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If you are looking to join a dynamic company with rapid growth prospects, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan could throw up some strong contenders. Bordered by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel, the desert kingdom is one of two Arab nations to have made peace with Israel, and is a key ally of the USA.

The official language is Arabic, but English is widely used. Although it is less well developed than its neighbours, Jordan is working hard to develop a solid aerospace industry and is attracting investors from all over the world, such as the UK's Atlantic Flight Training, which teamed with the Near East group to set up Ayla Aviation Academy to provide European Joint Aviation Authorities-recognised training in the region.

Says Matthew Margesson, chief operating officer: "We asked a team of market research experts to put together a feasibility study for a school in the Middle East. Aqaba was on the list, and we are now training our first batch of 70 students for Royal Jordanian Airlines."

Both flying and engineering skills are heavily in demand. In 2004 plans were unveiled for Jordan's new Aviation City near Amman's Queen Alia International Airport, aiming to attract manufacturers to establish repair and maintenance centres. The first tenant was Jordan Aerospace Industry (JAI), which produces light aircraft across nine production lines. In addition, it supplies the US Army with technicians and pilots.

According to JAI's chief executive, Muayad Al-Samaraiee, the company has a firm eye on developing a thriving aerospace industry. He says: "We will build new manufacturing facilities, R&D and warehouses to support our growing business needs."

Logistics provider DHL also set up a regional hub at Queen Alia last year. Says Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission (CARC) director general Captain Suleiman Obeidat: "Our aim is for Queen Alia Airport to become a cargo hub in the region and DHL is contributing to this vision." CARC says human resources are the most valuable asset in any organization and that it will "spare no effort in enhancing staff capabilities and keeping pace with the increasingly sophisticated demands of civil aviation".

King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba is also growing. Omar Almanha, airport director, says: "Although we do not currently directly employ foreigners, we have foreign nationals working on more than one project." Almanha foresees a much greater expatriate throughput over the next couple of years, as the airport is working on a 25-year development plan.

Pilot Schemes

Jordan offers great employment prospects for pilots. There are several airlines in the country, most of which are growing. Flag carrier Royal Jordanian intends to have a fleet of 45 by the year 2010, up from 17 in 2005. For captainspreferring corporate work, Oman headquartered Arab Wingsoperates business jets throughout the region.

General manager Sameer Hdairis says: "We need to employ extra pilots and will be seeking professional experience and a willingness to work in various countries and uphold our company's image.We look for people who give the best service they can."

He adds: "We will consider anyone, so long as they have safety as their number one skill and professional experience. We also need someone who can speak English up to the required standard."

 

 © Arab Wings

The flight training industry is also clamouring for people. Margesson affirms: "We are a growing business. We need to hire in skills from expatriates while we establish our business and train local staff." Margesson has lived in Jordan himself and praises the "warmth and friendliness" of the local people.

And even as it is emerging, Jordan's aviation industry is already exporting its talents. The Royal Jordanian Air Academy has just picked up a 49% stake in the UAE's Fujairah Aviation Academy. Chief executive Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh says this will help to market Jordanian aviation specialists abroad.

So if you are looking for a career with travel and the opportunity for rapid advancement, Jordan may well be the place for you.