Thursday, December 19, 2013

RJ at Fifty, Still Going Strong

This post appeared in RJ's in house employees magazine 

Amidst all the geopolitical turmoil of the last few years, Royal Jordanian has been able to maintain its pioneering spirit. It is not the oldest airline of the region nor the largest or richest. However, Royal Jordanian has always been at the forefront of the industry in the MENA region.

RJ has an innovative and can do spirit that meets challenges head on. I cannot recall a time when the MENA region did not have challenges from wars, invasions, blockades to uprisings. Issues that affect the stability, security, economy, tourism and the ability of people to travel.       

In spite of all this the airline managed to develop into a center of excellence.
The 1970s and 1980s, where times of rapid fleet expansion, with an increase in the B727/B747 fleets and the introduction of the L1011-500 and A310s followed by the A320s in 1990. The move to QAIA allowed the airline to rise to the challenge and was capable to efficiently operate and maintain the advanced new aircraft. The larger facilities allowed the airline to develop its heavy maintenance, engine overhaul, training and catering capabilities. The airline was always at the leading edge of technology, in 1983 it started operation of the L1011-500, the most advanced digital aircraft of its time. It was among the first to operate the A320, the first fly by wire aircraft and to introduce the large regional jets the Embraer ERJ175/195 to the MENA region.

In 2007 the airline was privatized, the first government airline of the region, a long and arduous process. The airline had to sell off almost all of its ancillary services, this drew criticism but in the final analysis it helped to broaden the aviation base in Jordan. New capabilities were introduced that otherwise would not have been. In the same year RJ joined One World The first MENA carrier to join a global alliance. The airline had to meet the alliance service delivery standards.

In the last few years the airline rolled over its fleet. The A310 passenger aircraft were retired and the A320 fleet was replaced by new A321/A320/A319 aircraft. The A340s were refurbished and the A330s were introduced to fill the gap until the delivery of the B787s, in the last quarter of 2014. The e-enabled B787 encompasses challenging leading edge technologies.

Royal Jordanian is a trend setter and has a can do spirit that rises to meet all challenges. This is achieved through a dedicated and well trained workforce. A workforce that is ready to go the extra mile to achieve its goals. The airline developed and thrived in spite of internal and regional challenges and in the process helped other airlines especially those in the Gulf region to develop. As the airline celebrates its 50th anniversary, the same pioneering, innovative and can do spirit still prevails. Aviation is an industry that is about people; those who travel and those who make their travel possible in a safe, secure and comfortable manner.                          
No Airline exemplifies this as Royal Jordanian does.

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