Morocco - Country Commercial Guide
Aerospace

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-12-10

Overview

Aerospace has been among the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  With most airplanes grounded and airlines in serious financial difficulties worldwide, we expect to see a significant decrease in transactions and production. At the time of this writing, the specific impact is still unknown. For instance, Royal Air Maroc, Morocco’s flagship air carrier, has cancelled its flights to Washington, DC, Miami, and Boston as well as Beijing, China, and other destinations.

Under normal times and prior to COIVD-19, the growing Moroccan aerospace sector presented diverse opportunities including supply inputs, finished aircraft, maintenance, and airport infrastructure, with over 140 aerospace companies represented in the country. The growth of the Moroccan aeronautics parts industry relies on a qualified supply chain of local subcontractors who have obtained certifications from international organizations.

Morocco has 24 commercial airports, all operated by the National Airports Office (Office National des Aeroports, 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 an increase in passenger capacity, now at 14 million per year.

Royal Air Maroc (RAM), the majority state-owned flag carrier, operates short-haul flights within the country, medium-haul flights to Europe and Africa, and transatlantic long-haul flights to the United States, Canada, and Brazil, and recently to Beijing, China (currently cancelled). It has the largest fleet of Boeing 737s in Africa (42) and operates five Boeing 787s. In 2018, Royal Air Maroc placed an order for four more Boeing 787s and four more Boeing 737s. In December 2019, the Moroccan carrier announced its codeshare with American Airlines followed by its membership in OneWorld alliance beginning June 2020. However, due to the impact of the pandemic, there is great concern about the future of RAM and its ability to maintain its current fleet or add to it.

The Royal Moroccan Air Force flies F-16 fighters, C-130 transport aircraft, and CH-47D helicopters, among other U.S.-origin equipment, while the Royal Moroccan Navy operates modern frigates equipped with U.S.-origin digital communications. 

The FMS portfolio increased over 100% this year with the signing of F-16 and Apache cases (from $ 4.01 billion to $ 8.5 billion). Several more cases currently under discussion may take the FMS portfolio well over $ 10 billion in the coming years. Primary sources for the Moroccan military are the United States, France, and Spain; Morocco is the largest purchaser of American weapons in Africa. Over the last decade, Morocco has strengthened its navy and equipped its army with sophisticated vehicles. In addition, this year, Morocco purchased 25 new F-16 aircraft, for a total budget of $2.8 billion. It also purchased 24 new Apache attack helicopters at $1.6 billion as well as PATRIOT Air Defense systems and G550 reconnaissance aircraft.  

The bi-annual Marrakech Air Show is a recommended event for U.S. companies selling to Africa. The upcoming edition is expected to take place towards the end of 2021.  For more information, email Office.Casablanca@trade.gov.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Maintenance for all types of aircraft (civil and defense)
  • Inputs for cabling production of aircraft (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

Opportunities

Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicrafts, and Social Economy, and ONDA are pursuing a development strategy to:

  1. Strengthen the status of the Casablanca airport as an international connection hub for Central and West Africa;
  2. Develop the Marrakech Menara Airport as a European hub; and
  3. Sustain the development of airport infrastructure through airport extensions, modernizations, and new construction projects.

Recent and upcoming ONDA projects include:

  1. The expansion of the Rabat-Salé airport, with a targeted completion date of 2024;
  2. The addition of a third terminal to the Casablanca International Airport before 2025;
  3. A $520 million new, 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;
  4. Future airport upgrades in Essaouira, Oujda, and Al Hoceima; and
  5. Increasing passenger capacity to 50 million by 2030 supported by an investment of $1.7 billion through 2023.

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