Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Latest Airline News from Morocco

Royal Air Maroc looks for Gulf partner

News today that Royal Air Maroc is seriously considering selling a massive stake in the company to a partner, yet to be selected. The figure being talked about is a 44% stake. While large, this would leave Royal Air Maroc with a controlling interest.

While the airline has hinted at a partnership from one of the Gulf states, no decision has been made other than to look into the idea. A Royal Air Maroc statement says, simply, "We will listen to their ideas on how they see this partnership." This statement yesterday, quoted in Les Echos, also said "For our part, we propose the sale of up to 44% shares in RAM for the selected partner".

The proposal will be made during a rare tour by King Mohammed of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan that starts on Tuesday.

RAM has seen its own financial troubles in recent years, cutting staff and upgrading its aircrafts fleet in a restructuring process aimed to mitigate losses.

In 2011, RAM took $187 million from the state to shore up finances hit by growing competition, lower sales and higher fuel prices. This government capital injection appears to correspond to the 44 percent stake the government may sell, official statistics showed.

RAM operates a fleet of more than 55 aircraft to some 83 destinations in Africa, Europe, Middle East and North America.

Casablanca to Toulouse now with Air Arabia

Concern over the effect on tourism of Jet4You pulling out of the Casablanca to Toulouse route has decreased with the news that Air Arabia will replace Jet4You on the sector.

Toulouse is now well served, with Air France and Royal Air Maroc also providing the same link. Jet4You abandons Toulouse from 26 October.

Meanwhile Air Arabia continues to expand and will introduce new services to many destinations from Morocco this autumn. From 28 October, the company will operate a flight to the Emirates every Sunday. And in mid-November, Air Arabia will add a new flight on Thursdays, to the same destination.

The airline is the first and largest low cost airline in the Middle East, Air Arabia operates scheduled services to 46 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Europe to 22 countries from Sharjah, 11 destinations in 10 countries from Casablanca and 5 destinations in 5 countries from Alexandria.

Its main base is Sharjah International Airport where it functions as a low cost conduit base, similar to low cost airport bases in Europe such as Rome Ciampino, London Stansted and Brussels South Charleroi Airport.

RyanAir to return to Fez

With all the anger over RyanAir's withdrawal from London to Fez still bubbling away, news is that the airline will be back - but not during the supposed "low season". According to the airline's website the Fez route will be back in operation Sunday 31 March 2013 and bookings can be made up until Sunday June 30th. At this stage flights will run Monday to Thursday from Stansted. This is particularly good news for the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music.


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