October 13, 2017 / 10:19 AM / 5 days ago

Royal Jordanian eyes operating profit this year - CEO

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Royal Jordanian Airlines expects to make an operating profit this year as it pushes ahead with a turnaround plan, its chief executive told Reuters on Friday.

“I am pretty confident that after the first five months of this year, which were not very good, that we are going to have an operating profit in this year,” Stefan Pichler, who took over as CEO in June, said on the sidelines of the CAPA global summit in London.

“We’ve worked very hard to develop a turnaround programme to get back to profitability,” he said.

Pichler said the board had approved the turnaround plan last week and Royal Jordanian would now work on a fleet plan.

Jordan’s flag carrier currently flies a mix of Embraer, Airbus and Boeing jets and Pichler said ideally it would move to a single narrowbody supplier in the future.

“We are discussing with all suppliers,” he said.

He said Royal Jordanian was looking to focus on its regional market in the Levant and wanted to be poised to take advantage of the Syrian market when it reopens.

Pichler said Royal Jordanian was trying not to put too much capacity into the market as it seeks to fly fuller planes.

“We don’t want to get into a capacity war in the Gulf,” he said.

Carriers such as Emirates and Etihad have competed to build global networks from their respective hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but overcapacity, security concerns and a fall in regional business travel means they are rethinking their strategies. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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