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Royal Air Maroc Bets Big on Casablanca as Global Hub
Royal Air Maroc sees a future for its Casablanca hub on the global stage.
Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is gearing up for an ambitious phase of expansion, aiming to issue a request for proposals for a substantial fleet expansion by the year’s end. Abdelhamid Addou, the airline’s CEO, revealed plans to grow the fleet to 200 aircraft during the Arab Air Carriers Organization conference in Riyadh, as reported by Flightglobal.
Addou emphasized the potential of Casablanca as a key regional hub, envisioning it as a major player in the region’s aviation landscape. A third of the envisioned 200-aircraft fleet will comprise of widebody aircraft, while the remaining two-thirds will consist of narrowbodies, including regional models. The airline is also considering acquiring a number of aircraft to serve as a “bridge” before the larger fleet expansion.
Royal Air Maroc, which earlier this year announced an ambitious growth plan extending to 2037, aims for a four-fold increase in size. Addou acknowledged that the typical decision-making process for fleet expansion could take around two years but expressed a desire to expedite it, aiming for completion within a year, with an anticipated result around July 2024.
Putting Casablanca on the World Stage
Casablanca, already a regional hub, aims to establish itself as a more global hub, capitalizing on its strategic geographical position between Europe and Africa. Leveraging its ‘open skies’ relationships with both the European Union and the U.S., the airline seeks to solidify its position in the industry, directly competing against carriers such as Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, and Turkish Airlines.
Anticipating an evolution of Casablanca as a connecting facility, Addou highlighted transit traffic, which is expected to account for two-thirds of the hub’s overall traffic. The recent opening of a new arrivals zone in Casablanca’s airport, common to its terminals, is a step towards increasing passenger capacity. However, the operator ONDA has signaled broader expansion plans for Casablanca and other Moroccan airports to meet the increasing demand, aiming for a terminal capacity of around 30 million passengers.
This strategic expansion plan coincides with RAM’s recent launch of the ‘Dream Africa’ campaign, reaffirming the airline’s commitment to Africa and emphasizing its dedication to unlocking the continent’s potential. The campaign seeks to promote “south-south co-operation” and accelerate various dimensions of development, including political, economic, societal, cultural, and technological facets.
The campaign is set to unfold across 28 countries, including RAM’s primary strategic markets, utilizing impactful international media, particularly focusing on television and digital audiovisual platforms, as well as urban media like large displays and digital screens strategically positioned in key locations such as city centers, transport hubs, and shopping centers.
CEO Hamid Addou stated, “The new dynamic expressed in our rebranding strategy carries our ambitions as a reference company on a continental scale, proudly expressing our Moroccan and African identity. It is part of our Kingdom’s overall vision for Africa, promoting South-South cooperation and the acceleration of our common development.” Addou further emphasized, “As an airline and with all our resources, we have an obligation to embody the best of Morocco and contribute to the continent’s progress. This is the message conveyed by this new promise: #DreamAfrica #MeetMorocco.”
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