‘I have the right to know’: MP denied copy of Marka Airport agreement

Gov’t cited document’s ‘confidentiality’, refused deputy’s request

Marka Airport 1
Undated photos of Marka Civil Airport. The government in March denied MP Saleh Al-Armouti’s request to receive a copy of an agreement related to the airport between itself and a French company. (Photos: Jordan News)
AMMAN — In a recent flurry of controversy was ignited on Thursday surrounding the government’s response to an MP’s February request pertaining to Marka Civil Airport.اضافة اعلان

On February 28, Deputy Saleh Al-Armouti asked the government a series of questions about the closure of Marka Airport in which he requested to see a copy of an agreement signed between the government and a French company related to the airport.

The government’s reply, which came on March 22 informed the lawmaker that it was impossible to fulfill the deputy’s request as the document is classified as “confidential” under the Law on Protection of State Secrets and Documents.

The controversy has arisen now, Armouti told Jordan News, because the issue “appeared in the media two days ago after answering a journalist” inquiring about the MP’s request.

The deputy said that he will raise the issue during the next ordinary session of Parliament, scheduled to be held in October.

On the government’s reply, Armouti said: “It is regrettable to receive this reply. ... I am a deputy and I have the right to know.”

He added that, as an MP, he has the right of oversight.

He added that Article 119 of the Lower House Internal Bylaw gives the right to MPs to obtain any document from the government. His request “has been rejected.”

“Since 2007, an application has been submitted to license the airport, classifying it as an international airport — until now it has not been responded to.

Since 2019, it has been completely closed under the pretext of maintenance. This is a simple matter that may be addressed, because we have the right to have another airport,” Armouti added.

The lawmaker clarified that he does not believe the closure of Marka Airport is in order to benefit Queen Alia International Airport.

“I think that what is happening is a defect, a failure, and a waste of public money,” he concluded.

Armouti’s request included the following questions:
• Why, for years, has Marka Civil Airport been closed to air traffic?

• Does the government know that closing the airport has wasted hundreds of millions from the state Treasury?

• Who is the responsible for this closure?

• Does the government know that aircraft landing fees alone can raise up to JD4 million, in the event of the airport’s operation?

• Does the government intend to form an investigative committee of experts regarding the airport’s closure and resuming its operation?

• How many passengers has Queen Alia International Airport received since the French company has operated it?

• A request for a copy of the agreement signed between the government and the French company.

The government sent answers to the lawmaker’s questions, but it refused to send a copy of the agreement signed with the French company.

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