Jordan’s tourism industry and flag carrier Royal Jordanian (RJ) are working in concert to attract more traffic to the country, and India is a major growth market, says Nayef Al Fayez, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board.
Helping this effort is Jordan’s largest airport—Queen Alia International (QAIA)—which will open a new terminal in 2012 as part of a $675-million redevelopment plan to increase passenger-handling capacity from 3 million to 9 million per year.
With 51,000 visitors to Jordan in 2010, Nayef expects the figure will rise by 30% this year. He added eased visa restrictions were helping attract more Indian visitors.
Indians have also upped their stay in Jordan from under two days to more than four days in the past two years. Amman, as a regional hub, will help Indians connect to onward destinations, such as Egypt and Israel.
Royal Jordanian, which operates five weekly flights to Delhi and three to Mumbai, had asked for traffic rights for a city in southern India. It is believed that Royal Wings, a subsidiary of RJ, is interested in flying to Hyderabad or Bengaluru, which could increase the tourism base for Jordan.
Meanwhile, QAIA handled 14% more passenger traffic—5.43 million arrivals—in 2010, compared with the previous year. With renovation of the existing terminal, the government is banking on enhancing QAIA as a regional hub airport.
Aircraft movements for 2010 also witnessed strong growth, closing the year at 62,900, an 8.8% increase from the 57,800 movements in 2009.
Despite the recessionary climate in 2009, tourism in 2009 to Jordan showed a 1.6% growth giving reason to Royal Jordanian to focus on its growth plans.
While RJ flies to Hong Kong, Al Fayez said China is a growth destination, as are Korea and Japan.
The carrier has 31 aircraft, including eight Embraers and Airbus A340s, A330s and A320 family aircraft.
RJ intends to introduce seven new Airbus A320s and A321s to replace six Airbus aircraft operating in the fleet. The first delivery is scheduled in April, and the others will follow in 2012. Royal Jordanian has ordered 11 Boeing 787s expected to join its fleet in 2013.