February 4, 2018 / 2:38 PM / 4 months ago

Ryanair expands in Middle East with first Jordan flights

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Europe’s largest budget carrier Ryanair (RYA.I) is to begin flying from Jordan for the first time next month as it expands its operations in the Middle East.

Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft taxi at Manchester Airport, Britain, January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The Irish airline, which already flies to Israel and Morocco, will begin with a route from Amman to Paphos in Cyprus in March, it said in a statement. Next winter it will fly 14 routes from Amman and Aqaba.

The airline, which carried almost 130 million passengers last year, expects to fly 430,000 passengers per year to and from Jordan, it said.

    The vast majority of Ryanair’s routes are in the European Union, but it also flies to a number of non-EU countries that, like Jordan, have “Open Skies” agreements with the EU that allow deregulated air travel.

    “Enhancing air connectivity is one of the key areas Jordan is focussing on given its impact on unlocking economic growth through attracting business investment as well as spurring tourism,” Jordan’s Minister of Tourism Lina Annab said in a statement welcoming Ryanair’s announcement.

    Jordan’s tourism market was damaged in 2016 when a dozen people, including a Canadian tourist, were killed in two attacks by Islamist militants in the southern city of Karak.

    Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Adrian Croft

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