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Cablegate: Jordanian Air Charter Company Begins Service to Iraq's

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAM #3298 3490942
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140942Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3968
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 6128
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 2954
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3857
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 4026
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1440
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 5263
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHDC
RHMCSUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS AMMAN 003298

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ELA AND EEB
BAGHDAD FOR D. MARTINO AND D. OROCHENA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON JO IZ
SUBJECT: JORDANIAN AIR CHARTER COMPANY BEGINS SERVICE TO IRAQ'S
NAJAF AIRPORT

1. (U) Jordan Aviation (JA), Jordan's largest charter airline, flew
a test flight to Najaf in southern Iraq on December 6 and began
charter service to Najaf International Airport on December 12.
According to press reports, JA Chairman Captain Mohammed Al-Khashman
said that JA will dedicate three planes to serving Najaf, a
destination for an estimated 3 million, primarily Shi'a, pilgrims
annually.

2. (U) JA was founded in 1998 and operates 18 commercial aircraft
including Boeing 737s and 767s and Airbus A310s and A320s with a
primary base in Aqaba. JA plans to grow to 30 aircraft and 2000
employees in 2009. JA provides charter flights to Baghdad and has
transported 65,000 Iraqis on the hajj over the past three years,
including 24,000 in 2008. JA is Jordan's second largest aviation
company after Royal Jordanian and is also active in aviation
leasing.

3. (U) Al-Khashman spoke on November 23, at the First International
Transport Conference and Exhibition in the Dead Sea on aviation
challenges and opportunities. While lamenting the impact of the
recession on air travel, he said that a 60 percent reduction in fuel
costs over the past 3 months was good for the sector. He said
transportation relies heavily on public-private partnerships and
credited the GOJ with significant investments in airports in Amman,
the Jordan valley, and in the Mafrak economic zone. He also said
that Jordan, with its good location and political stability, will
benefit greatly from the rapid growth in aviation in the Middle
East.

Visit Amman's Classified Website at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/amman

BEECROFT

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