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Morocco is a North African country occupying the north-west coast of the African Continent. Morocco's borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean to the north, and borders Algeria and Mauritania. Morocco's territory includes the disputed Western Sahara, which remains under Moroccan control. Aviation activity in the country is concentrated around the major cities of Casablanca, Rabat and Fez. National carrier Royal Air Maroc is the country's largest carrier and has its largest base at Mohammed V International Airport. LCCs Altas Blue, Jet4you and Air Arabia Maroc are also major carriers in Morocco.
Aviation in the country has been closely aligned with movements in the EU after the Euro-Mediterranean Air Transport Agreement. This agreement is an extensive alignment of aviation legislation with key parts of the European Community rules and regulations, including those on safety, economic regulation and in particular competition laws, air traffic management and consumer protection. It is aimed at progressively opening up market access between Morocco and the EU.
Airports in Morocco
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53 total articles
Africa’s unenviable record of government interference in the continent’s aviation system is demonstrated by no less than nine carriers currently surviving at the behest of their respective governments through a variety of financial support mechanisms collectively worth about USD2.5 billion.
In most cases this support serves only to distort any prospect of a level playing field, preventing privately owned carriers from competing effectively. Nigeria is even taking this a stage further as state support of private carriers is being undermined by a desire to relaunch a government owned national flag carrier. In other cases, such as Uganda, new state-owned airlines are planned to compete with successful privately owned operators in markets that often lack sufficient demand to support them both. Whatever the motives, and many of them are questionable at best, the outcome is sadly predictable.
In most cases Africa’s national carriers suffer at the hands of government mismanagement and interference, key among them is the continent’s largest airline, South African Airways (SAA) which is the subject of the biggest turnaround plan currently under way. This could offer a vital precedent if it succeeds - and if it doesn't.
Germania is “very satisfied” with the performance of its Western African subsidiary Gambia Bird which launched a regional and international aviation network nearly a year ago with the aim of making Banjul an air transport hub for the sub-region.
Germania MD Andreas Wobig reportedly stated in Sep-2013 that Gambia Bird has allowed the group to better manage its capacity, noting that while charter operations in Europe are characterised by overcapacity and price pressure, the African continent is a key growth market
Gambia Bird plans to increase its winter timetable after making seasonal adjustments during the summer low season, which included moving one of Gambia Bird's two A319s to Germania’s Manchester base allowing the group to make maximise fleet utilisation.
Air CEMAC, a proposed start-up joint venture between six central African nations and Air France is inching its way to fruition. But tense negotiations between the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) member states of Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Republic of the Congo, and their prospective strategic partner Air France are at a delicate stage as the latest deadline to launch the carrier by the end of 2013 looms.
A key sticking point appears to be Air France insisting on taking a strategic 33% blocking stake in the joint venture while also demanding that Air CEMAC be granted a monopoly on future CEMAC regional routes, a proposition that could be severely damaging to the region’s existing carriers.
Air CEMAC aims to provide regional services linking the CEMAC states as well as the island nation of São Tomé & Príncipe to the rest of Africa. The plan has been 10 years in the making and Air France is almost certainly the final chance for the union to turn their wish for a common carrier into a reality as the original start-up capital is reportedly almost exhausted. Three potential strategic partners, Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and most latterly South African Airlines have all previously looked and walked away.
Arik Air, Western Africa’s largest carrier, looks set to start delivering on some of its often repeated long-haul growth plans with the arrival the first of four A330-200s, with the second due by the end of Jul-2013.
The new aircraft are aimed at increasing frequencies on some existing services, including Lagos to New York, while also opening new routes with Sao Paulo high on the list. Arik states that other opportunities include China, United Arab Emirates and more points in Europe and the United States.
In addition Arik has placed firm orders for Bombardier CRJ1000 NextGen regional jets and Q400 NextGen turboprops as the carrier looks to expand its regional network beyond Western Africa.
But the carrier, which is heavily indebted to the government, also faces the prospect of another new national carrier being launched by the end of 2014 to provide domestic, regional and intercontinental competition.
Tunisair, the national carrier of northern Africa’s smallest country, is implementing a recovery plan which includes expanding its network in Europe and to sub Saharan Africa with the addition of seven new routes since Oct-2012 as the state-owned carrier takes delivery of a fleet of new aircraft.
The flag carrier has struggled to cope with the effects of the 2011 Arab Spring political uprising which devastated the Tunisian tourism industry, requiring Tunisair to implement a crisis restructuring plan to reduce costs and expand its network with more efficient fleet – also possibly locating a strategic partner to recapitalise the airline.
Passenger numbers have rebounded strongly in 2012 and early 2013, but Tunisair continues to survive only under government protection which holds European LCC entry at bay.
Talks on a comprehensive air services agreement with the EU appear to have made little progress and the lack of an agreement is holding back the nation’s aviation sector as well as its tourism industry, a major economic driver.
Royal Air Maroc will open seven new routes over the next three months to Jun-2013 as the carrier takes delivery of new aircraft and brings others out of storage to cope with a surge in tourism demand.
State-owned RAM has announced it will launch services from its Casablanca base to London Gatwick, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Las Palmas, Praia, Zurich and Turin. The carrier also launched a three times weekly service from Casablanca to Madrid in Oct-2012.
The Moroccan flag carrier took delivery of two new Boeing 737-800s in Mar-2013, reportedly including its 50th 737 delivery, with another three to come in the second half of 2013 according to the CAPA Fleets database.
At the same time the clock is ticking for the carrier to find a strategic airline partner able to help it cope with mounting pressure from LCCs.