Wednesday, May 15, 2013

■ MOROCCO: Government now mulling possible Gulf carrier tie-up for Royal Air Maroc prior to a privatization bid.

Royal Air Maroc RAMThe future of Royal Air Maroc (AH) is still cloudy though the Moroccan state backed national carrier airline could be party to a strategic alliance with an undisclosed major carrier in the Gulf ahead of a planned privatisation bid, the country’s tourism minister, Haddah Lahcen, has said.

Speaking to ArabianBusiness, the minister expanding on a possible tie up with either Emirates (EK) or Etihad (EY), in particular the latter, who of late have been on a spending spree buying various stakes in various airlines the world over.
Royal Air MarocAsked if the government could align with a Gulf-based carrier such as Dubai’s Emirates Airline or Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, Haddah Lahcen responded: “We wouldn’t rule that out. Those are very respectable, very big, well managed companies with a very good business model.

There will be privatisation, but I think there will probably be some kind of strategic alliance with a good carrier,” Lahcen told Arabian Business in an interview in Dubai. “There will be complimentary routes for Air Maroc, which has a very strong presence in West Africa and Western Europe.
Source [ArabianBusiness]

Last year, Morocco's King Mohammed lead a delegation of government ministers and busienssmen to the Gulf where he visited Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to hear proposals for a partnership with flag carrier RAM. The Moroccan government had previously allured to selling off a 44% stake in the loss making carrier, who in recent years have had to go cap in hand to the Treasury to ask for USD193million in bailout funds needed to keep the airline competitive in light of the Open Skies agreement it has with the European Union.