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Royal Jordanian eyes North America after European traffic decline

Royal Jordanian Airlines is planning to expand its transatlantic network as traffic from Europe has declined as a result of political crises in the Middle East and North Africa.

The airline lost "most" of its tourist traffic originating from European countries because travel packages often combined Jordan with Syria and Egypt, fleet and network planning director Eyad Birouti told Flightglobal at the Connect conference in Killarney in Ireland yesterday.

Los Angeles, Washington DC and Toronto are being evaluated as additional destinations that could be launched for the summer 2016 season. Today, Royal Jordanian serves Chicago, Detroit, New York and Montreal.

Washington DC and Toronto could be served nonstop from Amman with the airline's five-strong Boeing 787 fleet. But 787-8 flights to Los Angeles with a full payload would require a fuel stop in Europe, says Birouti. Amsterdam, Dublin and Vienna are among the cities being investigated as potential stopover points.

The carrier is also planning network expansions in Africa and Asia to compensate for declining traffic from Europe, says Birouti. Connecting flights to the Asia-Pacific region could be a way of filling aircraft on existing routes from Europe.

Indonesia's capital Jakarta is a candidate destination for the winter 2015/2016 schedule, alongside Guangzhou and Shanghai. Traffic rights for the two Chinese cities are in place, says Birouti. But he adds that route launches will depend on availability of attractive airports.

In the short-haul arena, Royal Jordanian will open routes to Saudi Arabian city Tabuk and Najaf in Iraq as part of this year's summer schedule.

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