Royal Jordanian to restart Berlin route after 11 years

Jordanian flag carrier's third route into Germany based on rising demand from passengers
Royal Jordanian to restart Berlin route after 11 years
Royal Jordanian Airlines President and CEO Hussein Dabbas
By Shane McGinley
Thu 02 Jun 2011 11:13 AM

State-backed airline Royal Jordanian (RJ) on Thursday restarted flights to Berlin, eleven years after it discontinued its service to the German capital.

RJ President and CEO Hussein Dabbas said the decision to resume scheduled services to Berlin, the Jordanian flag carrier’s third route into Germany, was due to increased demand from passengers.

In a statement, RJ also said it was likely it would move to the new Berlin Brandenburg International (BBI) airport once the new airport opens next year.

RJ will operate an Airbus A320 aircraft three times a week between Amman and Berlin. The carrier already operates 77 percent of the air traffic between the two countries and Berlin is RJ’s latest German route, having operated flights to Munich since 2001 and to Frankfurt since 1970.

Berlin will be RJ’s 59th route and Dabbas told Arabian Business last month it is planning to launch a long haul flight to sub-Saharan Africa this year, with the Nigerian city of Lagos targeted as a possible target. However, Dabbas said there were visa issues that may delay the introduction of its 60th route.

While the Jordanian state-backed carrier has seen passenger numbers increase, rising fuel costs saw it suffer a $39m first-quarter loss this year.

The price of oil is “already too high,” Dabbas told reporters last month. “Our budget is based on $85 a barrel and that’s why we incurred a first-quarter loss,” he said.

Fuel accounts for about 40 percent of the carrier’s operating cost, Dabbas said. Crude oil for July delivery traded at $97.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 39 percent from a year ago.

Royal Jordanian also suffered from the unrest that has swept the Middle East, the CEO said. The year will be “challenging,” and the carrier expects to make up for the losses incurred in the first three months of the year from increased traffic during the summer season, Dabbas said. He said he hopes the company will break even this year.

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