Carrier to replace eight older A310-300s and A320s

Royal Jordanian has revived the fleet-renewal programme it postponed last year because of the downturn and the war in Iraq.

The plan involves replacing eight older aircraft with up to 10 new narrowbodies from Airbus or Boeing.

According to Royal Jordanian president Samer Majali, the airline will dispose of three of its six Airbus A310-300s - 11- to 17-year-old aircraft that are on operating lease - and all five of its A320s (including two leased aircraft) that are eight to 14 years old.

Majali says the eight aircraft are being withdrawn "because of their age and because of our standardisation policy. We are evaluating the Airbus A320/A321 and the Boeing 737-800 to replace them".

The competition is continuing, says Majali, who adds that a decision is expected "within the next two months, at the latest".

The gradual phase-out of the eight existing aircraft and the acquisition of the new airliners will take two years, beginning in 2005, says Majali.

Last year, Royal Jordanian began upgrading its long-haul fleet with the acquisition of four Airbus A340-200s.

This enabled the airline to start phasing out its A310s - one of which has already been converted to a freighter by EADS-EFW in Dresden.

Meanwhile, Royal Jordanian's long-term business plan calls for a tie-up with a strategic investment partner, but Majali concedes that the chances of achieving this objective in the current business climate are slim.

"After 11 September 2001, things have been very difficult for airlines of our ilk - ex-state-owned airlines trying to move into the private sector," he says.

"We don't think there are any more strategic partners available - at least for the coming few years."

In the meantime, Majali says Royal Jordanian is trying to build marketing alliances, either on a bilateral basis or through one of the major alliances.

"In parallel, we are looking for financial investors who might want to take a stake," he says.

Source: Flight International