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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Ryanair expands in Mena with flights to Jordan

European budget carrier to operate 14 routes to Amman and Aqaba airports

European carrier Ryanair is expanding operations in Mena with flights to Amman and Aqaba in Jordan from March. Philippe Huguen / AFP
European carrier Ryanair is expanding operations in Mena with flights to Amman and Aqaba in Jordan from March. Philippe Huguen / AFP

Ryanair, the European budget carrier, said it will launch flights to Jordan from March as part of plans to expand operations in the Middle East.

“Ryanair is pleased to announce our entry into the Jordanian market from March 2018, initially with one route from Paphos in Cyprus to Amman commencing in March, and growing to 10 from October, as part of our winter 2018 schedule,” said the Ryanair chief commercial officer, David O’Brien.

Flights to Aqaba will commence in October with four routes, and will operate for the winter season, Mr O’Brien added.

The new flights are expected to accommodate almost 500,000 Ryanair customers per year at Amman and Aqaba airports.

Ryanair is ramping up its operations in the Middle East and North Africa, after launching flights to Morocco last year. Jordan, meanwhile, wants to expand its tourism industry, which saw double-digit growth last year, the Jordan Tourism Board said.

The Arab country had witnessed a drop in visitors of nearly 10 per cent year-on-year in 2015 to 4.8 million, according to figures from the ministry of tourism and antiquities cited by Oxford Economics, as the impact of geopolitical tension took its toll.

Ryanair’s initial Paphos route will serve four flights per week, while the total 10 routes will be twice-weekly to Bologna, Brussels Zaventem, Bucharest, Budapest, Krakow, Paphos, Prague, Vilnius, Warsaw Modlin, and Milan Bergamo – which will have three flights per week.

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The Aqaba winter 2018 schedule includes four new routes with a twice-weekly service to Athens, Cologne, Rome Ciampino and Sofia.

“These routes will introduce new business and leisure travellers from eleven European countries to one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world,” Mr O’Brien added.

Ryanair is releasing limited edition €19.99 (Dh91.47) fares for flights from Paphos to Amman for travel in April and May. These are available for booking until midnight on Wednesday 7 February.

Jordan plans to launch dedicated marketing campaigns to entice visitors in tandem with Ryanair’s expansion.

“We are delighted to see Ryanair launch 14 new routes from Europe to Jordan. This is a significant development in Jordan’s travel industry that will offer travellers greater choice and value for money,” said Lina Mazhar Annab, Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities and chairwoman of the Jordan Tourism Board.

“Enhancing air connectivity is one of the key areas Jordan is focusing on given its impact on unlocking economic growth through attracting business investment as well as spurring tourism, two factors that are vital to Jordan’s economic prosperity.”

Ryanair’s decision to fly to Jordan sends a “loud and clear message about the diversity and the untapped potential of Jordan’s tourism product”, Ms Annab added.

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