The state of Transjordan came into being in 1922 following the dubious carve up of the Middle East by the British and French following World War One. It became fully independent in 1946 and was renamed as Jordan in 1948 by its Hashemite rulers. The nation like several others in the Middle East was effectively made up, but despite involvement in several of the various Arab-Israeli conflicts it has somehow managed to avoid the majority of the bloodshed that has engulfed almost all of its neighbours. This is in a large part due to the wise leadership of King Hussein and his succeeding son King Abdullah II. The fact that Jordan is also poor of natural resources like Oil and Water has also probably favoured stability.
Alia began operations in 1963 and was named after the King's daughter. During the 60s the fleet consisted of Viscounts, Heralds and DC-7s and in 1965 3 Caravelles were received. Both the DC-7s were destroyed by an Israeli air raid in the 1967 war. Following the war ties with the West were strengthened and a pair of new 707s was added in 1971 followed by a pair of second-hand 720s.
JY-ADS was originally D-ABOQ delivered to Lufthansa in March 1962 and sold onto Pan Am as N787PA in Feb 1966. Two new 727-200s joined the Alia fleet in mid 1974 along with extra 707s and the 720s became surplus to requirement. This aircraft was sold to Pakistan International where it became AP-AZP. On March 2nd 1981 the aircraft was hijacked during a flight between Karachi and Peshawar and the hijacking wasn’t resolved until March 14th in Syria! The aircraft was retired and became a fun fair attraction at Karachi's Jabees Funland in New Clifton but was scrapped a few years later.
It wasn't until 1977 that Alia’s first widebody was delivered, allowing the expansion of long-haul services to New York. The first two 747s arrived that year whilst the third wasn't delivered until March 1981. In late 1981 5 L-1011-500s began to be delivered. These aircraft were a better fit capacity wise for Alia's network than the 747s and during 1985 the airline acquired 2 more which had not been taken up by Air Canada.
Alia was renamed Royal Jordanian in 1986 and took up an attractive green livery. Two of the 747s left the fleet in 1985 and 1987 destined for British Caledonian, but JY-AFA ‘Prince Ali’ was kept until 1989 when she joined UTA as F-GFUK. After their takeover by Air France in 1992 she was quickly sold and joined Tower Air on lease from January 1993 as N505MC. Acquired by Atlas Air in April 2000 she was converted to a freighter, being stored in 2009 and broken up in 2010.
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I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: