“This is our fate,” Samer Majali, Chief Executive of Royal Jordanian Airlines, commented ruefully, addressing delegates on the CEO panel at the 56th Arab Air Carriers’ Organisation (AACO) in late October.
He was addressing the impact on the Middle East, and the knock-on effect on air transport, of the Israel-Gaza conflict. Royal Jordanian has been here before, having built up experience of dealing with regional strife in circumstances such as the two Iraq wars.
Having a land border with Israel, and most of Royal Jordanian’s westbound flights usually flying over that country, means his carrier is more negatively affected than most. ARGS had talked to Majali just a week prior to the AACO meeting in Istanbul at Routes World, where his message was how focused this small Middle East carrier is on carving out a niche for itself as the connector for the Levant region.
Already up against the Gulf majors, Royal Jordanian’s task to return to the black just got tougher. The interview with Majali is found on page 14.
Black swan events, such as Covid and wars, bring unexpected challenges for air transport, but they are set against a broadly improving industry outlook. ARGS has been gauging this outlook over the past few months at Routes World and the Airport Services Association (ASA) Leadersship Forum.
ASA is busy raising its industry voice with more members and additional staffers, seeking to play a more active role in shaping ground services policy in areas like contracting and standards (see report on pages 22-28).
Service providers have ramped up this year as traffic has flowed back. Routes World in Istanbul in mid-October brought an industry together as if it had never paused for a pandemic. With the Asia-Pacific fully opened, China’s airports were back with a bang at the show, hungry to restore international services (see p32-34).
The main thing holding back even faster capacity growth is the slow pace of aircraft deliveries from the OEMs as they deal with supply chain issues.
This is causing severe headaches for airline planners, who are unsure when aircraft will arrive in their fleets and are resorting to expensive short-term leases to find capacity.
Our bumper Routes World report, with great input from Mike Miller, covers the main Turkish players, correspondent Pegasus CEO Güliz Öztürk (see p16), TAV Airports head Serkan Kaptan (see p20), and Istanbul’s iGA Grand Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport (see p40).
Elsewhere, Philipp Joeinig, the CEO of Menzies, explains how this services major intends to spread its wings over the coming 5-10 years (see p10), while our Brisbane correspondent Tony Harrington has delivered a superb analysis of the Australian market, asking how a crisis at Qantas has obscured, and may drive, momentous change in Australia’s skies (see p4). Tony, who is a wizard on headlines, has done it again for this article with ’The frying kangaroo’.
There is little doubt 2023 has seen the industry recover at pace despite its many challenges, such as staff shortages, sustainability and supply chains. Most of us would have taken what the year has given us as it kicked off. Now we take stock and contemplate what 2024 will bring.
Featured in this issue
Over a year on from Menzies Aviation and National Aviation Services (NAS) joining forces, Philipp Joeinig, Chief Executive Officer, explains how the merged entity intends to grow “The motto and t...Read More
Amsterdam’s capacity cut explained
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And the winner is….
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Creating a virtuous circle
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DFW’s new lease of life
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Travellers want to be better informed on sustainability options when planning travel, but the industry has not provided consistent information “We need a significant commitment to education on su...Read More
During his keynote presentation, Chris Brown, Partner Aviation Strategy at global consultancy KPMG, identified three long-term disruptors for the industry: decarbonisation, digitalisation and advanced...Read More
Under the tagline ‘Istanbul is the new cool’, record numbers of delegates descended upon Türkiye’s mega-city to speed-date at the world’s great annual airline-airport networking event: Routes...Read More
In a better place
Service provider CEOs took to the stage in the big debate in Athens to discuss the issues of the day such as the ‘race to the bottom’, minimum standards for handlers and collaboration between all ...Read More
JFK’s shiny new terminal
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Lapland boosts Finavia
Under the slogan “the North is near”, Finavia is promoting the increasing accessibility and attraction of Finland’s Lapland as not only a Christmas destination but a summer one too. With an inv...Read More
Royal Jordanian is carving out a niche for itself as the first-choice airline of the Levant. Chief Executive Samer Majali explained the strategy at Routes World. Mark Pilling reports Samer Majali i...Read More
Malaysia to play host
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Middle East mushrooms
Low-cost Middle East airlines are expanding at a much more rapid pace than their legacy brethren and are using new longer-range aircraft to expand their influence northward to European cities. Mike Mi...Read More
Montreal’s second airport
After securing community backing and finding its first new airline tenant, Yanic Roy, CEO of Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport, is confident the right building blocks are in place for Canada’s second-la...Read More
Sabiha’s runway ambitions
The opening of its second runway is a huge boost for Sabiha Gökçen Airport (ISG) as it seeks to add more destinations to its rapidly blossoming network That rarest of beasts should have appeared ...Read More
Synchronicity in Bahrain
For a year now, the primary air transport actors in Bahrain have been under one wing – the Gulf Air Group “In October 2022, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prin...Read More
TAV’s calculated risk
TAV Airports is recovering strongly from losing its mainstay airport in 2019 with a strategy focused on Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Türkiye. Chief Executive Serkan Kaptan tells Mark Pilling how ...Read More
The frying kangaroo
How a crisis at Qantas has obscured, and may drive, momentous change in Australia’s skies. Tony Harrington reports from Brisbane The contrast could not have been greater. As Vanessa Hudson, the ...Read More
The return of China
China’s airports were back at Routes in Istanbul in force. Mark Pilling talked to several of them about their plans to restore capacity The target for the dozen Chinese airport groups exhibiting ...Read More
Pegasus Airlines continues its steep climb as one of Europe’s fastest-growing and ambitious low-cost carriers “In five years’ time I see Pegasus with the claim of being an international airli...Read More
Europe’s airport leader painted starkly different emerging travel patterns that may shape the next decade for the region Olivier Jankovic, ACI Europe’s Director General, said at Routes that ris...Read More
Welcome Air India
One of the most surprising stands in the Routes World exhibition area was the one belonging to Air India. Airline stands are a rarity amongst all the glitzy airport booths at any Routes event, but wit...Read More