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Arab Airways (Jerusalem) Ltd. (Jordan)

Arab Airways Association, Transjordan Airways Corporation

Last modified: 2020-07-31 by ian macdonald
Keywords: jordan | airline | speedbird | jerusalem | star: 7 points |
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[Arab Airways (Jerusalem) Ltd, (Jordan)]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 Apr 2007

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I had a lazy look at this site (especially made for airline enthusiasts to romp about in) and saw this. The second brochure, showing the company flag, is clickable. (Date of issue: Jan. 1, 1958.) An enlarged image is here.

Swallowtail, horizontally divided black above green, a red speedbird bearing the white star from the national flag flying towards top hoist.

Jan Mertens, 28 Nov 2005


Arab Airways (Jerusalem) Ltd. was founded in 1953 with help from BOAC as Arab Airways Association. It operated a small fleet of C-47's from Amman and Jerusalem until merged into Air Jordan in 1958.

If I am not mistaken, it was the only commercial company ever using Jerusalem's small airfield (a.k.a Qalandiya/Atarot) as its base.

Dov Gutterman, 28 Nov 2005

The earliest name of the comany was Transjordan Airways Corporation, and it was very loosely linked to BOAC after that company was formed. It went through a few variants of that name until the accession of King Hussein, himself a skilled pilot of multiengined aircraft, who took a close personal interest in the company's development and growth. The Arab Airways name was used from the time of Hussein's accession until the early 1960s, when some other Arab states took exception to it, seeing in its use a usurpation of the Arab name and an attempt to assert suzerainty on the part of his dynasty over all Arab states. For a brief interval the company was known either as Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Airways (which was deemed too cumbersome) or simply as Royal Jordanian Airways.

On the death of Queen Alia, whose name meant 'upwards' in Arabic, King Hussein sought to commemorate her by including her name in the company's title; during much of the period between the 1970s and 1990s the company was known as "Alia Royal Jordanian Airways." I do not know whether her name has been retained at present or not. I would not be surprised if there were additional flags for the airline throughout its many name changes; as I said, King Hussein took personal interest in thecompany, even occasionally flying as Captain on scheduled flights, and he was personally involved in the design of uniforms, insignia, logos, etc; I would not be surprised if the design of flags were included within the range of his commitment and interest in the airline.

As I recall, Air Jordan was always a government enterprise and was founded when Jordan became independent, whereas Arab Airways, despite its loose affiliation with BOAC, was essentially a private venture on the part of some of the great Jerusalem families such as the Nashashibis and others. The merger was largely as a result of internal Jordanian politics during the late 1960s, as well as the new king's personal interest and his wish to give Jordanian civil aviation a higher profile both regionally and internationally.

Ron Lahav, 29 Nov 2005

I don't know Ron's source, but it seems to be a very misleading one and totally incorrect!

Royal Jordanian Airline (RJ) was established by a royal decree on 9 December 1963 and its maiden flight was 15 December 1963. It is not a merger of any kind. It was first named in 1963 as Alia Jordanian Airlines to honor the kings's daughter. Indeed he had a wife (since 1972 – 9 years after the company already had the name "Alia") with same name which was killed in crash in 1977, however the company was not named after her but the Amman Int'l Airport (Queen Alia International Airport)

In 1986, the company was renamed to its present name.

Dov Gutterman, 28 Nov 2005

I read much of this material over the years in such magazines such as Flight International and some others. At one time I was very interested in airliner history. I remember reading the story of how Alia Royal Jordanian Airlines was named in several American Jewish periodicals during the 1970s and 1980s. However I defer to Dov's expert knowledge on this subject.

Ron Lahav, 29 Nov 2005