This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Aerospace – Civil
Aerospace value-added trade is one of Morocco’s fastest growing sectors. It has also been among the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With most airplanes grounded and airlines in financial difficulty worldwide, the transactions and production significantly decreased in the short term. The sector is now recovering slowly; Royal Air Maroc (RAM), Morocco’s flagship air carrier, has reopened its flights to Miami and Dulles, keeping direct flights to New York airport open the entire time in the United States. Although many other flights to a number of destinations worldwide were cancelled, a number of them have reopened already this year.
Briefly, the aeronautical ecosystem in Morocco currently accounts for about 140 companies with a turnover of around 2 billion dollars in exports, with the number of direct jobs at 17,000 employees, 40% of whom are women. Aerospace activity in Morocco dropped by 29 percent in 2020, against a 50 percent drop globally, because of the pandemic. Job losses in the sector were limited to 10 percent (or 1,500 jobs) against 40 percent worldwide. Morocco has 24 commercial airports, all operated by the National Airports Office (ONDA). ONDA is responsible for all aspects of airport security and purchasing related to its projects. ONDA intends to invest $200 million in the development and enhancement of the airports, specifically the freight zones of the Casablanca and Tangier airports. A significant portion of the budget will be dedicated to safety and security equipment and air traffic. The Casablanca airport recently expanded and modernized its Terminal One at a cost of $160 million. This allowed for an increase in passenger capacity, which now stands at 14 million per year. The National Airports Authority (ONDA) is responsible for all aspects of airport security and purchasing related to its projects. ONDA has a plan to upgrade its airports with facial recognition systems starting with Rabat - Salé airport.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Royal Air Maroc, the majority state-owned flag carrier, operated short-haul flights within the country, medium-haul flights to Europe and Africa, and transatlantic long-haul flights to the United States, Canada, Brazil, and China. It had had the largest fleet of Boeing 737s in Africa (42) and operated five Boeing 787s. In 2018, Royal Air Maroc placed an order for four more Boeing 787s and Boeing 737s. In December 2019, the Moroccan carrier announced its codeshare with American Airlines followed by its membership in the OneWorld alliance, beginning June 2020. Due to the pandemic’s impact, the company underwent a major reduction of its workforce, reduced air routes, and reduced the number of its aircraft. With the reopening of the skies worldwide and the increased demand fortravel, RAM’s president announced that the flagship carrier is set to update its fleet as of 2023.
Aerospace – Defense
The Royal Moroccan Air Force flies primarily French and American aircraft. American aircraft in the Air Force inventory include F-16 and F-5 fighters, T-6 trainers, C-130 transport, CH-47D, AH-64E helicopters, and G-550 business jets for VIP transport. The Royal Moroccan Navy operates modern frigates equipped with U.S.-origin digital communications and operates Bell 412 helicopters and King Air 350 aircraft.
The FMS portfolio is worth $8.5 billion. There are several other cases currently in the FMS development process which have the potential to bring the total FMS portfolio to well over $10.3 billion. Primary sources for the Moroccan military are the United States, France, and Spain. Morocco is the largest purchaser of American weapons in Africa.
To further Morocco’s aim to build a military and defense industry, in early 2022, Sabca and Sabena Aerospace, part of the Belgian Blueberry Group, the government of Morocco, and U.S. company Lockheed Martin signed a strategic partnership creating the joint venture Maintenance Aero Maroc (MAM). This partnership includes a state-of-the-art maintenance and repair center, revision, and upgrade (MRO&U) for military airplanes and helicopters in Benslimane airport.
The bi-annual Marrakech Air Show is a recommended event for U.S. companies seeking to sell in Africa. The upcoming edition’s date is expected to be announced by the end of 2022 or early 2023. For more information, email Office.Casablanca@trade.gov.
- Maintenance for all types of aircraft (civil and defense)
- Inputs for cabling production of aircrafts (or other commercial vehicles)
- Service providers
- Technical training
- Parts and equipment suppliers for aircraft
- Parts and equipment suppliers for airport facilities
- Pilot and crew training
- Air navigation control systems
- Radio communication systems
- Baggage handling
- Scanning equipment
- Passenger security devices
- Aviation consulting services
- Security systems
Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicrafts, and Social Economy, and ONDA are pursuing a development strategy to:
- Strengthen the status of the Casablanca airport as an international connection hub for Central and West Africa.
- Develop the Marrakech Menara Airport as a European hub; and
- Sustain the development of airport infrastructure through airport extensions, modernizations, and new construction projects.
Recent and upcoming ONDA projects include
- The expansion of the Rabat-Salé airport, with a targeted completion date of 2024.
- The addition of a third terminal to the Casablanca International Airport before 2025.
- A $520 million second airport in Marrakech with an annual capacity of ten million passengers to complement Menara Airport and meet projected overall passenger demand of 14 million by 2030.
- Extension of Tetouan international airport through the construction of a new terminal at an estimated cost of $11 million in addition to a runway along with all its required equipment, with an estimated budget of $28 million.
- Future airport upgrades in Essaouira, Oujda, and Al Hoceima; and
- Increasing passenger capacity to 50 million by 2030 supported by an investment of $1.7 billion through 2023.
- ONDA’s Development Plan
- Grouping of Moroccan Aeronautic and Space Industries (Groupement des Industries Marocaines Aéronautiques et Spatiales, GIMAS)
- Ministère de l’Industrie et du Commerce (mcinet.gov.ma)
- The national public tendering portal, managed by the Moroccan Treasury.