Air France has been operating flights to, from and through Amman for almost four decades, offering their customers flights to France, Europe and the rest of the world. Venture spoke to Ghada Fanek, Air France KLM’s country manager for Jordan, Palestine, and Iraq, to discuss the airline’s history in Jordan, the growth of its services in the country, it’s challenges, and the future.
When did Air France first establish a presence in Jordan? And how frequent are their flights?
Air France has been in Jordan for 40 years, with the first flight to Amman running on the April 3, 1977. The flight was a B707. Air France KLM currently operates direct, daily flights to Amman, but the plane operated now is an A320.
What was the value of adding Amman to the Air France route (as a destination and a transit point)?
I believe it was a most valuable addition for Jordan, as it has managed to provide additional services between the country and Europe and North America/Canada, and has contributed to making Jordan more accessible to, and connected with, the rest of the world.
As an investment, would you say this has been profitable?
I do not think it possible to deduce specific profit margins from operating to Amman specifically. In any case, profit has never been the priority in operating the Amman line, as our aim is to serve as a feeder to facilitate transportation among many other destinations for Air France KLM and its partners.
Has the new airport (and, more recently, the new terminal) had an impact in growing your business in Jordan?
Directly, it has not had much of an effect in terms of numbers on the size of our market in Jordan, but it has highly improved the traveling experience for our customers, despite incurring increased costs on us as an airline.
What are some of the main challenges Air France has faced in growing its business in Jordan? How did you overcome them?
Due to Jordan maintaining its stability in comparison to neighboring countries, we have not faced many challenges and the regional unrest has had little impact. Tourism from France has declined, as is expected, but this decline has been offset by increased traffic from the United States.
Are there any regulatory issues that you feel are limiting your presence or business in Jordan?
Not really. Aside from increased airport fees that came with the new terminal opening, I can say that our four decades in Jordan have been smooth sailing. Anyway, because of the improved experience the new terminal offers customers and airlines alike, the cost we bear has been worth it.
How do you see Air France’s business developing in Jordan over the next 5 years?
Our policy is to continue to offer the most convenient and attractively-priced services to both the Jordanian and French people, and to anyone who is interested in traveling to, from, and through Jordan, and improve upon them.
This is part one of a nine-piece story.