“Success calls for success,” repeated Airbus executives at a press briefing held on October 9 in Casablanca. The event focused on a presentation of the broad ranges of the aircraft manufacturer, solutions offered in commercial aviation, helicopters, fighter jets, drones …
It was also an opportunity to analyze the multiple industrial benefits of the group’s ecosystem in Morocco in terms of jobs, export volumes, local integration, the logistics chain … This release of the leader in the world of aeronautics comes in a rather special context: 50 years of existence of Airbus (since the creation in 1969) and 50 years of presence in Morocco.
It is clear that the European manufacturer has strong ambitions to support the development plan of Royal Air Maroc on the African continent. Airbus is also closely following RAM’s strategy of doubling the fleet by 2028. The challenge for the national airline is, it should be remembered, to go from 61 to 120 aircraft in 9 years.
“RAM is one of the major companies in the region. It is expected to play a leading role in Africa. Clearly, its vision and development strategy will have to be accompanied by aircraft acquisitions and new capabilities. RAM has ambitions, Airbus has solutions … We leave it to the companies to choose the aircraft that best fit their needs and their markets,” said Mikail Houari, President Airbus Africa & Middle East.
According to Airbus management, RAM’s ambitions in terms of rejuvenation and fleet development can also be explained by a rapidly accelerating global context, an explosion in travel demand, more passenger movements, and a compression of margins. and fierce competition between companies. It is also a question of survival and economic model.
Moreover, the latest forecasts (2019-2023) of the global Airbus market confirm it: “passenger traffic in Morocco has quadrupled since 2002. It is expected to more than double in 20 years. Currently, about 120 passenger aircraft serve Morocco (including aircraft of foreign companies). Moreover, the same report states: “By 2038, Morocco would need 260 additional aircraft to meet the growing demand.”
In addition to the markets to be taken in terms of orders from RAM, Airbus claims its role as a major player in the development of the industrial ecosystem of aeronautics in Morocco. The manufacturer recalls that the sector directly employs 16,000 employees and exports the equivalent of 1.5 billion euros. In total, 140 companies operate in the aviation industry in Morocco.
These firms include Stelia (formerly Maroc Aviation), a global player in the design and production of equipment and fuselages, and Acam (Aerolia Construction Aéronautique du Maroc), two subsidiaries of the Airbus group.
“For more than 50 years, Airbus has been a strategic industrial partner in Morocco, thanks in particular to its subsidiary Stelia Aerospace. Airbus has initiated the aerospace ecosystem, supported thousands of skilled jobs and generated significant export revenue,” said Africa and Middle East President Mikail Houari.
It is this historical implementation of Airbus that has enabled the deployment of the supply chain in Morocco. Over the years, renowned groups such as Safran, Nexans, Daher, Altran and Figeac have joined the platform. The Airbus ecosystem includes operators such as Lisi Aerospace, Cetim, Safran, Hexcel, Daher, Altran, Diehl …
Its supply chain is present throughout the entire value chain (design, engineering, assembly, components, materials, systems …). The challenge is to move production up and running with more and more complex components to control costs and meet busy order books. Among the parts produced in Morocco, the fuselage panels for the A320, the seats of the business class or the nacelles for engines.
Beyond civil aviation, Airbus is also a builder of helicopters, fighter jets, drones, satellites and other defense solutions. Morocco has a hundred Airbus helicopters divided between the Royal Air Forces (FRA), the Gendarmerie and the Royal Navy.
The military fleet is composed of Super Pumas, Pumas, Gazelle, Panther, Dolphins, H135, H145 … Morocco is also one of the most equipped helicopter countries on the African continent. “Airbus Helicopters has developed a privileged relationship with the Royal Air Forces for 40 years”, confirms the management.