Ryanair is continuing its expansion to the Middle East and, for the first time, will connect continental Europe with Jordan. The new flights will go to airports in Amman and Aqaba and the airline anticipates that it will carry half a million passengers per year on these routes, with most of them being winter sun seekers.
Starting in March, Cyprus’ Paphos will connect with Amman four times a week. From October, Jordan’s capital will be connected with ten other European hubs, including Bucharest, Warsaw, Brussels and Prague. Ryanair is also planning to fly to the coastal city of Aqaba in their winter 2018 schedule, running a twice-weekly flight schedule from Sofia, Athens, Cologne and Rome. The city lies on the Red Sea and is a famous scuba-diving hotspot.
Both cities make suitable bases for visiting the world-famous Petra, an ancient city that was voted one of the new seven wonders of the world. The new routes are a boon to the Jordanian tourist industry which, despite being a safe country to visit, has suffered in recent years to its proximity to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Lina Mazhar Annab, the country’s Minister of Tourism called the move “a significant development”. In a statement, she said “Ryanair’s decision to fly to Jordan sends a loud and clear message about the diversity and the untapped potential of Jordan’s tourism product. It also shows confidence in the tourism industry in Jordan, which has witnessed double-digit growth in the past year.”
Jordan has worked hard to promote its image as a tourist destination and the industry accounts for 14% of its GDP. In 2015, it eased visa restrictions and introduced the ‘Jordan Pass’, giving visitors bargain entry to 40 of the country’s top attractions, including a one-day pass to Petra. They’ve also developed new attractions for visitors, including a 15-day running challenge and a Martian-like glamping experience in Wadi Rum.
The first Ryanair flights to Jordan from Paphos will go on sale midnight, Wednesday 7 February and some limited seats in April and May will be priced at just €19.99 to celebrate the new route.