AMMAN (Reuters): Hussein Dabbas, President and CEO of Royal Jordanian Airlines(RJ), said he had resigned after almost three years as head of the state airline following a tough year for both the company and the industry due to regional political turmoil.
“It has been a very tough year for the airline industry as a whole and the economy and we did very well despite the circumstances,” Dabbas, 57, who had held senior posts within RJ since he joined the airline in 1979, said on Tuesday.
Dabbas will leave on May 31, company officials say.
“It’s time for a change for me and the airline and for new ideas,” said Dabbas, who was appointed as head of the airline in August 2009.
Industry executives credit him with consolidating the firm at a time of turmoil that has seen earnings in the airline sector squeezed as a result of the financial crisis and regional turmoil.
RJ’s operating revenue grew 6.3 percent last year to 683 million dinars ($963 million) compared with the previous year despite a 20 percent rise in its operating costs, mainly on the back of higher fuel prices that cut into profits.
The flagship state airliner also saw 26 percent growth in passenger traffic in the first quarter of this year against the same period last year with a healthy rebound in traffic from new routes in Libya.
Royal Jordanian, which serves 60 destinations, and is a member of the British Airways-led Oneworld airline alliance, announced some cuts earlier this year in flights to unprofitable destinations as part of plans to reduce operating costs.
Jordan sold 71 percent of Royal Jordanian to international and local investors in an initial public offering at the end of 2007, making it the first Arab state carrier to be privatised.