Osta, Dabbas and Mousa at sigining ceremony: will Jordan’s air industry become more environmentally friendly?
Jordan’s fragile environment is threatened by a number of problems, including a severe lack of fresh water, increasing pollution of the Gulf of Aqaba, due to overdevelopment by both Jordan and Israel, particularly the effects of regional air and ground pollution in Jordan other regional population centers. These problems were widely discussed during a recent environmental blogging workshop organized by Green Prophet which included participants from Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. And when Green Prophet’s Karin met Prince Hassan of Jordan, the problems more clear.
Another environmental issue: air, noise and other forms of pollution caused by commercial airlines, will get a big boost by a memorandum of understanding that was signed between Jordan’s national air carrier, Royal Jordanian, and the USAID/Jordan Tourism Development Project II to help minimize the environmental impact of the airline’s operations on the country’s air and surface infrastructure. The agreement, reported on the website AME Info is expecting to boost tourism to Jordan.
The memorandum was signed by Royal Jordanian’s President and CEO Hussein Dabbas, USAID/Jordan Tourism Development Project II Chief of Party, Ibrahim Osta and was witnessed by Maha Mousa on behalf of USAID. The importance of this memorandum was noted by Jordan’s Tourism Development Project II Chief , Ibrahim Osta:
“The main purpose of our partnership with RJ on this project is to support environment sustainability of the airline as part of larger efforts to promote responsible tourism in Jordan.”
Operating an international airline in a small country like Jordan, where a large portion of the population live in one geographical area (the East Bank of the Jordan River), is challenging, to say to least. Besides the obvious issues of air and noise pollution, there are others such as fuel and other energy consumption, which puts a severe financial strain on a country which has to import virtually all its fuel supplies and is so strapped for domestic power supplies that it is seriously considering building a nuclear power station on the shoreline outside of Aqaba.
Jordan is trying to increase its tourism profile with emphasis on its historical attractions such as Jerash (location of the annual Jerash Festival), Mt. Nebo (said to be the mountain where Moses ascended to “look upon the Land of Israel”) and Petra, the ancient Nabetean city nestled in a canyon. The Jordanian Tourism Board is also upgrading the country’s sea front tourist attractions in Aqaba, which borders on Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city.
As noted in an article in the Middle East business news site AMEinfo.com, the four-month agreement covers two phases:
In the first phase, Siyaha II will collect and analyze available data and information regarding Royal Jordanian (RJ) operations. Also, conditions on the ground at RJ’s main facilities will be assessed. Phase II will then entail consultations with RJ, the Ministry of Environment, the Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission and other relevant parties regarding the EMP and compliance requirements for RJ.
The airline is working towards a set target to reduce pollutants, including aircraft emission, ground support equipment (GSE) emission, fire extinguishers gas, aircraft air-conditioning units gas, waste and hazard material. RJ employees are being made especially conscious of the need to conserve water, electricity, and other resources. This awareness is very much in line with the water and energy problems that Jordan faces on an every day basis.
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