Tuesday, October 16, 2012

■ MOROCCO: Government looks to offload 44% stake in Royal Air Maroc to Gulf carrier.

Royal Air Maroc RAMFollowing on from our tweet last night, it does indeed appear that Morocco is looking to sell up to 44% of its shareholding in national carrier Royal Air Maroc (AT) to an as yet unknown Gulf airline.

Royal Air Maroc's second Boeing 787
Royal Air Maroc's second Boeing 787 (CN-RGC) (Simpilot459)
Based at Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) near Casablanca, Royal Air Maroc is owned 95.95% by the Moroccan government, 2.86% by Air France and the remaining 0.95% by International Airlines Group.

Proposals for a partnership with flag carrier RAM will be made during a tour to Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by Morocco's King Mohammed, that starts on today (Tuesday 16 October 2012).
"We will listen to their (Gulf airlines) ideas about how they see this partnership ... For our part, we may propose the sale of up to a 44 percent stake in RAM to the selected partner. The idea is to capitalize on the solid presence of major Gulf airlines, especially in China, India, Latin America ... markets where a huge, growing number can afford to travel every year. Morocco aims to treble tourism receipts by 2020.” the source told Reuters.

RAM, unaligned to any alliance, codeshares with Brussels Airlines, JetBlue, Etihad, Iberia and Turkish Airlines at the present time, and has seen an unprecedented onslaught from Low Cost Carrier's since the signing of an Open Skies agreement with the European Union in 2006. 

With competition from the LCCs set to continue, RAM will need to implement a restructuring programme in order to remain a viable, relevant carrier as in 2011 the airline needed a USD187million injection from the Moroccan government to shore up finances hit by growing competition, lower sales and higher fuel prices.