Tuesday, January 15, 2013

► MOROCCO: LCC market heats up with Ryanair, Jetairfly launching new bases, routes.

JetairflyThe Low Cost Carrier aviation scene in Morocco is set to heat up with news that Ryanair (FR) is to open two new bases in Morocco, Marrakech and Fez, its first outside Europe. In addition, Jetairfly Morocco (TB) is to launch various new flights to its growing Moroccan network which now counts 10 cities.

Ryanair 737
Ryanair 737-800 (Ryanair)
According to anna.aero, Ryanair is to open bases #56 and #57 in April 2013. At present, Ryanair is the third largest carrier at Marrakech, trailing easyJet (U2) and national carrier Royal Air Maroc (AT) in terms of both weekly frequencies and seats. 

However, it suggests that "if Ryanair were to to base just one new aircraft at the airport, it would seem likely that it will become the dominant airline, although this will depend on the number of new routes that it plans to launch versus just simply reinstating the schedule on existing routes."

The Fez situation, anna.aero goes on to report, is different; seven times smaller than Marrakech, Ryanair is already the dominant carrier there in terms of weekly seats and flights offered. In terms of possible routes, there is a strong possibility of services to Scandinavia, with added to France to serve the obvious social links between the two counties. 

Ryanair's surprise push into Morocco comes after a public row with the state airports company, l’Office Nationale Des Aéroports au Maroc, ONDA, in June 2012, after which Ryanair announced the cancellation of 34 weekly flights (250,000 annual passengers) to/from Morocco because ONDA had "reneged on its agreement with the airline by imposing a new monopoly handling company on Ryanair which would have resulted in a massive increase in charges for the airline."

Jetairfly 737
Jetairfly 737 (Jetairfly)
Meanwhile, Jetairfly (TB), the LCC successor to Jet4you, a low-cost Moroccan carrier, has announced the eminent launch of various new routes ex-Casablanca, Marrakech, Agadir, Tangier, Oujda, Al Hoceima, Nador, Rabat, Fez and Tetouan.

The announcement also marked the re-entry of Jetairlfy into the Morocco-Europe market following the de-registry of  all TB's aircraft on the Moroccan registry and their transferral to Belgian Jetairfly's certificate.

Said Claude Perignon, CEO of Jetairfly Morocco at a news conference:
"Thanks to this integration, Jetairfly Morocco (ex Jet4you) enjoys all the benefits of Jetairfly: a young fleet, flexible, over 20 modern aircraft, quality assurance and mixed Belgian-Moroccan crews.
Source [Espace-Aviation] 

Morocco has seen an unprecedented influx from Low Cost Carrier's since the signing of an Open Skies agreement with the European Union in 2006.