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Morocco news : Emerging as an aviation hub in North Africa

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Morocco news : Emerging as an aviation hub in North Africa

Morocco is boldly positioning itself to become a global hub for aircraft manufacturing, capitalizing on its cost-effective workforce and robust industrial partnerships to attract major players.

Persuading and drawing aerospace manufacturers to Morocco

Moroccan officials are ambitiously transforming the Kingdom into a prominent aviation center. To realize this vision, Morocco is actively enticing major aircraft manufacturers to capture a larger share of the multi-billion-dollar aerospace market.

As demand for new aircraft skyrockets and companies like Boeing and Airbus seek to ramp up production, Morocco is emerging as a compelling destination for businesses, particularly those seeking to diversify their supply chains and leverage skilled, cost-effective labor.

Hamid Abbou, CEO of the state-owned airline Royal Air Maroc, exudes confidence in Morocco’s prospects : « The demand is substantial, and we are perfectly positioned. Many major European suppliers struggle to recruit in this sector, a challenge we do not face ».

Thriving market valued at 2 billion USD

The endeavor to cultivate the Moroccan aerospace sector, valued at 2 billion USD, constitutes a pivotal aspect of the government’s broader strategy. This strategic approach aims to diversify the economy from relying on agriculture by nurturing a high-value-added manufacturing industry. Recently, authorities have rolled out generous subsidies and incentives to entice aircraft, train, and automobile manufacturers.

Currently, the Moroccan aerospace industry comprises approximately 130 companies. These entities are engaged in the production of critical components such as wings and fuselages. Notably, the sector has been instrumental in advancing women’s economic participation, constituting approximately 42 % of the aerospace workforce, surpassing Europe and North America.

For instance, the French manufacturer Safran Aircraft Engines operates a thriving repair facility near Casablanca. At this facility, engines for Boeing 737s and Airbus 320s undergo servicing every six to eight years before being returned to airlines worldwide, spanning from Brazil to Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Fostering world-class aerospace training centers in Morocco

The government has collaborated closely with the industry to cultivate a skilled pool of aviation workers, notably through initiatives like the Casablanca Institute of Aeronautical Trades (IMA).

Through investments in top-tier training programs, officials aspire to position Morocco as a beacon of excellence in aerospace manufacturing and innovation. These endeavors align with Morocco’s ambition to rival the achievements of Rwanda’s burgeoning space industry, which stands as a notable success story in sub-Saharan Africa.

Challenges facing the Moroccan space industry

Despite its ambitions, the Moroccan space industry confronts formidable challenges. The downturn in air travel caused by the pandemic, coupled with widely publicized emergencies and accidents involving Boeing aircraft, has impeded manufacturers’ ability to meet the resurging demand from airlines.

The race to clear order backlogs across Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia is driving companies to search globally for new production and maintenance facilities. Morocco competes with numerous contenders, all vying for a larger slice of the expansive aviation market.

Nonetheless, Moroccan officials maintain optimism regarding the kingdom’s prospects. By capitalizing on its geographical proximity to Europe, longstanding partnerships with industry giants like Safran, and a burgeoning pool of competitively priced talent, Morocco is confident in its ability to secure a significant share of new aerospace investments.

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