Airport International Group (AIG), a consortium of investors redeveloping Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport, is in talks with the budget carrier easyJet to expand its network to Amman, its CEO told Arabian Business.
AIG is discussing the possibility of launching new destinations within the UK-based low-cost carrier’s network, said Kjeld Binger.
“There are great opportunities for us to develop new routes from Europe to Amman, especially in the low-cost segment,” said Binger.
“We have a constant relationship… with easyJet and we are discussing certain possibilities from other destinations in the network.”
EasyJet, Europe’s second-largest low-cost carrier, launched its three-times-a-week Gatwick-Amman service in March 2011. The London Luton Airport-based carrier has 19 bases in Europe and 16 in the UK, including Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
AIG, whose investors include Invest AD and Noor Financial Investments Company, also sees potential for new routes in Eastern Europe and China, said Binger.
“I do believe that we have a region towards the east which is quite interesting also; the former Soviet countries in my opinion [are] fast-growing areas with fast growing-demand for travel.
“I see China as a potential in the near future and of course the rest of Asia is a potential.”
AIG is spending US$850m on expanding the Amman-based airport and improving existing facilities under a 25-year build-operate-transfer agreement, which will boost capacity from 3m to 9m passengers per year.
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by February 2013, with the second phase expected to be complete at the end of 2014.
Regional political tensions in Syria and Egypt has helped boost the number of tourists to Jordan from the Middle East during the last year, but economic woes in the euro zone have led to a decline in European passengers, said Binger.
“We had a decline of around seven percent in tourism from the typical western countries and we have had an increase in 2012 so far of around 12 percent….from the MENA region.”
“So far in 2012 we grew more than 22 percent compared to 2011 passengers,” he added.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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