24.8.11

The Company

Royal Jordanian's identity and company culture has gone through a lot in its 48 years, the place it ended up in is neither the best of places, nor the worst. There seems to be a company culture of helplessness, and of effective impotence in a region where airlines seem to be going through the boom of a lifetime, our airline seems to be barely holding on.

The latest announcement by the company to have lost $55.5 million in the first half of this year didn't seem to help. The morale hit rock bottom, the employees felt that there was undeniable corruption going on and it kept going unchecked until it ate up all of the resources of the company. The consequent statements of the CEO didn't seem to help, the pilots -yours truly included- as a block felt the squeeze, with income falling anywhere from $800 to $2000 per month in a time when inflation is going through the roof.

I could say the same about different employees in different departments but to be fair I won't because I have less contact with them and so I will let them speak for themselves. The fact is there is a growing percentage of people in the company who are stopped thinking of this company as their own and started looking at the picture from another angle.

The Jordanian Government owns 26% of the flag carrier and the Social Security Corporation of Jordan owns 10% while the Armed Forces own 3% of this, our Airline. The public interest owns 40% of this airline and comprises the first, third and fifth largest shareholders and the public holding of the company is more than double of the second largest shareholder, Mint Trading Middle East which is one of the trading arms of the current PM of Lebanon and the hyper-successful businessman Najib Mikati.

The employee stopped believing that it is our company, more than 70%of shares are in the hands of ten individuals and entities, among them only the provident fund at 1.9% means anything to the employees.

There is pressure on the people higher up the chain to turn a profit, the current CEO is rumored to only understand cutting cost, in hopes of creating a leaner operation and therefore raising the amount of revenue that he can turn into profit. In and of itself the strategy seems sound, but the consequences need follow up to understand the effect not only on profit but also on revenue.

I have flown the same airplanes that customers fly and seen the face of our airline, paler faces and leaner service is becoming the norm, and while cutting costs on the front line of service persists, there is talk of cars as gifts for directors and managers. If the CEO is aware of the falling standard of service he isn't showing it, and if he isn't he probably should try doing more than standing at the check-in counters of New York and Chicago destined flights.
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