Aéroports de Paris has big plans for Jordan’s aviation sector after acquiring a controlling stake in the operator of Queen Alia International Airport.
Groupe Aéroports de Paris (ADP) recently announced it has spent $265 million to buy a majority 51 percent stake in Airport International Group, the operator of Queen Alia International Airport since 2007.
ADP is active in over 30 countries and operates 26 airports worldwide, including Paris Charles de Gaulle.
ADP Chief International Officer and the new Chairman of AIG, Fernando Echegaray, said his group plans more investments to further improve operations, enhance services and traveler experience at QAIA, including a new baggage handling system.
What are your plans for QAIA?
The first investment that we are taking on is the baggage handling system in charge of managing all the baggage inbound and outbound of the airport. This is an important investment. Then we have other investments planned for different parts of the terminal; we want to improve our facilities, our shops, our arrival area and of course all the operational investments that you have to make when you run an airport of such dimension.
Will there be any job losses?
No, there’s no need for that. We were here before this increase of our shares and of course we know the airport very well, we know the people and the excellent team. All of them have made it possible for us to be awarded with all of these awards by different organizations that consider this airport one of the most impressive worldwide, and in the Middle East of course.
What changes do you want to bring to the airport’s operations?
First we want to increase the offering to improve the experience of the passenger. Second we want to connect the airport with the world. We have a very good and experienced team in route development that works with airlines, tour operators, and institutions in order to see how we can connect the airport with the rest of the world.
Would that include attracting more low-cost carriers?
Yes of course. We are not against low-cost carriers because we think that in some way they are offering a different level of service depending on the price you want to pay. But in the end what is important for the airport is the fact that you can connect it with the rest of the world.
Will you want to change RJ’s status in QAIA and the preferential treatment it receives?
For us, Royal Jordanian is a very important airline that we work closely with. We have meetings every day and we look at the ways that we can improve the operations. Of course all the advantages that we are able to provide to [improve services] are applied to all airlines. RJ is a good engine for the airport and our relationship with them is magnificent. We will continue with this relationship because they are exerting important efforts to provide the maximum quality of service.
QAIA is a public-private partnership. Do you foresee any difficulties in the management process in the future??
I don’t think there will be any difficulty. We are used to working in a consortium. France is the model that we use everywhere and our idea is to maximize the benefit for all the members of the consortium because this is a win-win solution.
Air Arabia has pulled out of Jordan. What will you do to prevent this from reoccurring?
Airlines try to maximize their assets. So I’ve seen in different places around the world how airlines decide to move their operations from one country to another and at the same time there are other airlines that decide to come here so it is an active and ever moving world. You have to face the situation with a kind of normality, but of course you should always work to attract more airlines and give the opportunity to new comers to provide citizens with a good offer.
How many new routes are you planning to open?
We are thinking about 15 new routes during 2018, and we try to create the business case in order to attract them. We are enthusiastic about opening new routes for the airport.