1. The first Jordanian carriers
When Jordan gained independence in 1946, it sought to increase its identity by creating its own airline, which took shape on January 1 of the same year under the name of Arab Airways. Inaugurating service to Beirut, it extended its wings to Baghdad and Cairo in August 1947, and British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) became its main investor.
Moving to Arab Airways Jerusalem, Limited, six years later, it operated a fleet of twin-engine Havilland Rapids from Jerusalem itself to Beirut and Cairo, but eventually added Aden, Amman, Baghdad and Jeddah. It was however not the only carrier in the region.
Air Jordan, created in 1950 by HE Ismail Bilbeisi Fasha, had itself started serving Amman with Airspeed Consuls, but an injection of funds in 1953 by Trans Ocean Airlines, an irregular carrier which operated charter and contractual flights, has allowed to modernize its fleet with Douglas DC-3 21 passengers. The latter eventually linked Amman to Kabul via Kuwait and Kandahar.
Like what had become its competitor, Arab Airways Jerusalem also acquired this type of aircraft.
Vying for much of the same passenger base, but faced with competition from other airlines in the Middle East, they chose to merge and form Air Jordan of the Holy Land.
Initially operating two Convair CV-240s rented from Trans Ocean, it purchased a DC-4 in 1960, with which it could serve longer routes, such as those to Rome from its hub in Amman. Despite the promise offered by this larger four-engine aircraft, the new airline was forced to cease operations on September 1 of the following year when its license was canceled.
Only a month passed before the creation of a successor – in this case, Jordan Airways, which was jointly owned by private interests (40%), the Jordanian government (25%) and Middle Eastern Airlines (also 25%), the latter of whom supplied him with three V.700 Viscers leased to turboprop engines and flight crews. His reign was also brief.
2. Flag bearer
Seeking to create the final international carrier, King Hussein of Jordan, who was himself a pilot, asked Ali Ghandour, then vice-president of Lebanon International Airways, to devise plans for a national airline, intended, according to the king himself, to serve as "… a national carrier to be our goodwill ambassador across the world and the bridge across which we exchange culture, civilization, commerce, technology, technology ; friendship and a better understanding with the rest of the world. "
Named after her eldest daughter, the resulting company was named Alia Royal Jordanian Airlines. Although its structure was not finalized until December 8, 1963, the King issued an additional request, that it would become airborne within a week.
Reaching what could only be considered an impossible goal, Ghandour was able to transform plans into planes, acquiring two Handley Page Herald 207 rented from the Royal Jordanian Air Force and a single Douglas DC-7C, with which he inaugurated a service from Amman to Beirut. December 15. Cairo and Kuwait were added the following week and a second DC-7 enabled it to serve Jeddah.
Piston engines subsequently gave way to jet engines, with the acquisition of Sud-Aviation SE.210-10R Caravelles, the first of which was delivered on July 29, 1965, and the type facilitated high speed services over the weather. in Europe, mainly in Rome and Paris.
Still fighting adversity and obstacle, however, he again faced an enemy. By taking control of Jerusalem two years later, in June, Israel instantly cut hold of two of the country's most important resources – tourism and agriculture – which significantly reduced the demand for new services. carrier, which resulted in low load factors for the aircraft.
It was during this latest crisis that the Jordanians discovered a third resource, namely themselves, and it was only with determination and dedication that Alia stayed aloft . Its subsequent acquisition by the government provided it with the necessary financial support.
After successfully going through its latest turbulence, it entered the 1970s with the acquisition of its first long-range jet aircraft, receiving the first of two Boeing 707-320Cs on 19 January of the following year, which facilitated the expansion of the route, particularly to Karachi to the east and Madrid, Casablanca and Copenhagen to the west.
A common service, albeit brief, has also been operated from Karachi to East Africa with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
The 707 was only the first of several types of Boeing acquired. For example, two 720Bs were obtained in 1972 for medium and low density sectors, while three 727-200 Advanced tri-jets were purchased for short to medium range operations. With a more flexible and economical fleet, it has been able to expand within the region and to the European continent.
Entering the era of the Widebody, Alia received the first of two Boeing 747-200Bs on December 15, 1976, which facilitated the launch of the transatlantic service from Amman to New York and Houston via Vienna or Amsterdam in July of the following year, the first Arab carrier to do this. It became the first of two large body types to be exploited.
Deviating from his Boeing fleet, he ordered six Lockheed L-1011-500s. Entering service in October 1981 between Amman and London-Heathrow, the three-engine type enabled the carrier to serve European destinations and several destinations in the Middle East, such as those to the Gulf States, for the first time.
In addition to its 747s, it operated the Amman-Vienna / Amsterdam-New York routes on certain days, as well as a new one for Los Angeles with an intermediate stop in Chicago. The JFK sector has also been upgraded to non-stop status and some flights have passed through Montreal.
In 1982, it operated seven 707-320C, one 720-030B, six 727-200 Advanced, three 747-200B, two of which were in combined configuration with cargo loading capacities on the main deck and two L-1011-500s.
After decommissioning the narrow four-engine bodies in 1985, its fleet focused on the 747 for long distance and high density routes, the TriStar 500 for the medium to long range and medium density segments, and the 727 for short to medium and low density areas.
December 15, 1986 marked several milestones: the Jordanian standard-bearer celebrated both its tenth anniversary of Middle East-United States service and its quarter-century silver jubilee, marking the Used with a new image and a new company name, the latter changed from Alia to, simply, Royal Jordanian Airlines, in order to emphasize its identity.
"The new corporate name," said Ali Ghandour, its chairman of the board and chief executive officer, "is the embodiment of our sense of heritage, as well as our sense of destiny, of our accomplishments. and aspirations, and in the process, the “ Royal '' & # 39; & # 39; connection that we have nurtured from the very beginning is identified, underlined and recognized.
"Last but not least," he added, "I want to emphasize that we have not sought change for itself, but to demonstrate to ourselves and to the world that we are progressive in our prospects, determined in our efforts to move forward. and confident and hopeful of a bright future. "
The road system of Royal Jordanian, as of January 1, 1987, included 41 cities in 34 countries on four continents.
Of these, three were long-distance connections to the North Atlantic, including the Amman-Vienna-New York, Amman-Amsterdam-New York and Amman-Vienna-Chicago-Los Angeles areas, and two were long-range far eastern links, inclusive. Amman-Bangkok and Amman-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore.
Two North African routes have been established, from Amman to Tripoli and from Amman to Tunis and Casablanca, while only one destination was served in the former Soviet Union, Moscow.
European destinations included Amsterdam, Athens, Belgrade, Brussels, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul, Larnaca, London, Madrid, Paris-Orly, Rome and Vienna.
Unsurprisingly, a high concentration of routes in the Middle East encompassed Abu Dhabi, Amman, Baghdad, Bahrain, Cairo, Damascus, Dhahran, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Karachi, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh and Sana & # 39; at.
Its only domestic sector was that between its hub and Aqaba.
Two joint services were also operated – those in Beirut with Middle Eastern Airlines and in East Berlin with Interflug.
During the five-year period from 1979 to 1983, the annual number of passengers carried was as follows: 1979: 915,000; 1980: 1,100,000; 1981: 1,440,000; 1982: 1,667,273; and 1983: 1,457,334.
Aside from the airline itself, Royal Jordanian had several airline and land subsidiaries in its portfolio.
The first was Arab Air Cargo. Succeeding Jordanian World Airways, itself established in 1974, it was founded in March 1982 as a Jordanian-Iraqi company and inaugurated the freight service on May 1 of the following year with two 707 -320C in cargo configuration.
Both a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), he flew to cities like Amman, Amsterdam, Baghdad, Brussels , Dubai, Larnaca, London and Rome. Six hundred and twelve flights were made in 1985, during which 4,521 hours of revenue were worked and 21,166 tonnes of cargo were carried, bringing in $ 16.6 million.
Arab Wings, its second subsidiary, provided a fast charter service for on-demand business aircraft in remote and inaccessible parts of the Middle East and was then the only such operation in the region. Jointly funded by the Omani government (one-third) and the Royal Jordanian itself (two-thirds), it launched service in May 1975 and operated two six-passenger Gates Learjet 35 and one eight-man Rockwell Sabreliner 75A Passengers from Amman and Muscat Flight Bases.
During the three-year period from 1981 to 1983, it carried 1,636, 2,116 and 1,390 passengers, respectively.
A separate branch, Arab Wings Flying Ambulance (AWFA), provided aeromedical services and took off in 1978.
Sierra Leone Airlines, its third subsidiary, was created in 1982 to succeed the Sierra Leone Airways established in 1958 and launched this service in November from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to London, with a shared participation of Royal Jordanian (20% ), private interests (20 percent) percent) and the government of Sierra Leone (60 percent).
Subsequent expansion led to the launch of international services from Freetown-Lungi to Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Accra (Ghana), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Las Palmas (Canary Islands), London, Monrovia (Liberia) and Paris, while domestic flights, based in Freetown-Hastings, linked the airport to Bonthe, Kenema and Yangema, all with a 707-320, a 720 and two Britten-Norman Trislanders. These were then replaced by CASA C-212-200 Aviocars.
Apart from these subsidiaries, Royal Jordanian also had several on the ground. These include the Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA), which opened on May 25, 1983 and included two terminals interconnected with 12 doors and could accommodate up to five million passengers annually passengers.
Hospitality Service, which had the capacity to prepare 20,000 meals a day for in-flight catering, the terminal restaurant, snack bars and staff cafeterias, managed the 315-room Alia Gateway four-star hotel , opened in 1985 and was used by transit passengers and flight crews. He also oversaw the airport duty free shops.
The Royal Jordanian training center was divided into the Technical Training Institute and the Business and Management Center.
Composed of civil and military branches, the Royal Jordanian Air Academy, another subsidiary, was designated Regional Technical Center for the Middle East in 1985 by IATA.
Several other concerns related to the Queen Noor Civil Aviation Institute; Arab Air Services, which was the engineering consultative arm that assisted in the design and construction of the airport itself between 1979 and 1983; the Royal Jordanian Folklore Group; the Alia art gallery; and Royal Tours.
4. RJ today
Fleet modernization marked the last decade in the history of the Royal Jordanian in the 20th century and marked a shift in loyalty from long-standing Boeing and Lockheed products to Airbus Industrie aircraft, the first of which was ; A-310-300.
Powered by two high-bypass rate turbojets and piloted by a two-person cockpit crew, it replaced the 727s on routes where demand exceeded its capacity or was too thin for its L-1011s, while offering wide body comfort with two aisles. Due to its carrying capacity, it even operated the Jordanian and American transatlantic sectors, especially during periods of reduced demand.
These, however, were mainly piloted by a second addition to the Airbus fleet, the four-engine A-340-200, which ultimately replaced the 747 and TriStars.
The replacements for Bonafide 727, in the regional, Middle East, North African and European segments, have taken the form of the narrow-body twin-engine family A-319, A-320 and A-321, while the short and short-range routes were piloted by yet another type, the Embraer E-175 and E-195 configured in double class, which could accommodate 72 and 100 passengers respectively. Both were well suited for the 45 minute jump between the capital and the resort of Aqaba.
Accepted as a member of the Oneworld alliance in 2007, Royal Jordanian continued to upgrade its long distance fleet, acquiring 233,000 kg of A-330-200 configured for 24 Crown and 259 economy seats between 2010 and 2011 and 227,930 kg 787-8 The Dreamliners can accommodate 24 and 247 passengers respectively between August and November 2014. The A-310s were intermittently converted into cargo ships with cargo doors opening upwards on the main deck and the A-340s, due to their more economical four-engine aircraft. fuel consumption, were completely removed from service.
Posed on the threshold of its golden jubilee on December 15, 2012, the Royal Jordanian presented a 50th anniversary livery on one of its planes, which reproduced the carrier's first scheduled route to Beirut.
After fighting regional obstacles and conflicts, he made a vital contribution to the country's culture and economy. With few natural resources, and its agriculture and tourism having already been locked up in the occupied West Bank, it had served as an air bridge to the rest of the world, becoming one of the main sources of income for the country, and for this reason , he considered passengers in vital correspondence for his existence. As a result, it has, to a large extent, provided the foundation for the very foundation of the country.
Reflecting on the history of the carrier during the Golden Jubilee ceremony which was held at Queen Alia International Airport in December 2012, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nasser Lozi said: "When His Majesty King Hussein launched Alia-as RJ to be appointed on December 15, 1963, he wanted him to be the national carrier of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in order to contribute to the progress of Jordan and to promote interaction with other cultures and to build relationships with other nations … (Today), we are proud of to be the national carrier that connects Jordan and the Levant to the world. "
Watching its growth, which saw its annual passenger numbers increase from 87,000 in 1964 to more than 3.3 million in 2012, President and Chief Executive Officer Amer Hadidi said: "Royal Jordanian was a pioneer in establishing a solid foundation for the airline industry. locally and regionally. "
Operating three E-175s, five E-195s, four A-319-100s, six A-320-200s, two A-321-200s, three A-330-200s and five 787-8s by the time At the end of 2014, Royal Jordanian served 54 destinations on four continents and seemed well suited to pursue the mission established by its founder.