As oil and gas wells overflow in Kazakhstan, Air Astana–the national carrier of the newly enriched former Soviet republic–is looking deep into Asia to expand its network. Its inclusion on the European Union blacklist, which frustrates its ambitions to expand west, lies at the heart of its strategy. Air Astana’s discussions over a code-share partnership with Royal Jordanian, which follows an analogous strategy, is no coincidence.
Having taken just five orders for new aircraft in 2011, Airbus Military now has 25 sales already for 2012, and is cautiously optimistic about more before the year’s end. At the heart of the turnaround is the light tactical transport family.
Eurocopter has entered into an agreement with Global Aerospace Logistics (GAL) as part of the airframer’s continuing effort to strengthen its profile and customer support services in the United Arab Emirates. The move is aimed specifically at enhancing the company’s capability to serve the UAE Armed Forces.
Jordan is to modify two of its Airbus Military CN-235 utility transports to a gunship configuration. A contract has been awarded to ATK for the work, which is being undertaken in conjunction with Jordan’s King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau. The work will be split between ATK’s U.S. facilities and those of KADDB in Jordan.
Manufacturers and analysts agree that recent years have seen a vigorous increase in business aircraft operations in the Middle East and that the region is generating strong demand, even with other parts of the global economy stalled. However, detailed projections of this growth and the size of the current and predicted future fleets vary.
Arab carrier Royal Jordanian Airlines and Avalon, a new aircraft-lease company, have been confirmed as the previously unidentified customers for three Boeing 787-8s and twelve 737-800s, respectively. Royal Jordanian’s order is valued at “approximately $500 million” and brings its 787 commitments to 11.
Royal Jordanian Airlines’ new president and chief executive, Hussein Dabbas, is maintaining the carrier’s long-held ambition to become the Middle East’s airline of choice. After 30 years in the airline’s marketing and sales organization, Dabbas brings contrasting experience to that of his predecessor, Samer Majali, an aeronautical engineer who left Royal Jordanian abruptly four months ago to lead troubled Bahrain carrier Gulf Air.
The new Gulf Wings UAE operation of Jordanian charter/ management company Arab Wings is up and running as of yesterday when the company received its air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates.
Embraer sees Arab operators of its 64- to 114-seat E170/175 and E190/195 regional jets (E-Jets) as providing a good example of what it views as the “right-sizing” of passenger services. By matching capacity to demand such carriers can enhance yield through increased flight frequency rather than continuing possibly marginal operations with larger single-aisle aircraft such as Airbus A320s, Boeing 737-500s and McDonnell Douglas MD-90s.