Rabat, June 20 Morocco's Royal Air Maroc (RAM)
wants to buy between 20 and 30 new-generation planes, including
15 medium-haul and 5 long-haul jets as soon as possible, its
chief executive said on Thursday.
Royal Air Maroc's fleet of about 44 medium and long-haul
aircraft is becoming obsolete, while it has sought to develop
Casablanca as a regional hub, connecting mostly poorly served
west African capitals to Europe and North America.
"We wish to renew our fleet with the new-generation planes,
and we need between 20 and 30 additional jets by 2020", RAM
Chief Executive Driss Benhima told state news agency Map.
For long-haul, Benhima said he would be interested in the
Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which competes with Airbus 350
, as the aircraft burns 15 percent less fuel than the
He said the Airbus Neo and Boeing Max were attractive medium
haul options while the Cseries of Bombardier or
Embraer were also being considered.
"If we want to develop and protect our market share, we must
think of buying new planes," the CEO said.
RAM is looking beyond the Euro crisis which hit tourism, its
main source of revenue, to develop its business and take on
competition from European airlines. The North African kingdom
signed an Open Skies agreement with the European Union in 2006
allowing new airline competitors, including low-budget carriers
such as Ryanair and easyJet.
Benhima didn't give details for the company's financing
plan. The company's operating profit was 718 million dirhams
($84.5 million) in 2012, the best result since the 1990.
Morocco, which has been thinking about reducing its stake in
RAM for more than 20 years, led major efforts to restructure the
group last year in a move that tourism operators said was a sign
the state was preparing for a sale.
But the transport minister Abdelaziz Rebbah has said he
would rather pursue a strategic partnership with an airline from
one of the Gulf states or beyond, than sell a stake in its flag