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Business Aviation Movements up 2.1pc in Morocco in 2018

 - November 17, 2019, 9:22 AM
Zouhair El Aoufir, ONDA CEO, addresses the MEBAA Show Morocco conference in Marrakech. (Photo: Peter Shaw-Smith)

Business aviation traffic rose 2.1 percent to over 10,400 movements in 2018 in Morocco, as two new FBO players, introduced in 2015, expanded service provision in the kingdom. The UAE’s Jetex Flight Support and Swissport Morocco, a unit of Switzerland’s Swissport International, have undertaken to open nine FBOs throughout the country in the coming years, some of which are already operational.

Speaking at the MEBAA Show Morocco conference in Marrakech on September 24, Zouhair El Aoufir, CEO, Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA), said business aviation movements in the kingdom increased 3.5 percent to 10,215 movements in 2017, and a further 2.1 percent to just over 10,430 in 2018.

Total passengers on business aviation flights were just over 44,000, with Marrakech enjoying 44 percent of the total, Rabat 16 percent, Laayoune 14 percent and, strikingly, Casablanca, also on only 14 percent.

More broadly, El Aoufir said total aviation traffic in Morocco, including commercial aviation, increased 11.6 percent in 2017 to just over 20 million passengers, and a further 10.5 percent in 2018, to over 22 million.

Noureddine Mouaddib, President, Rabat International University, told the conference that the requirement for pilots in Africa would increase at 4.7 percent CAGR in 2017-37, from 11,610 to 28,915.

Abdulaziz Shabra, a Human Factors Investigator at Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah-based Aviation Investigation Bureau, gave a detailed presentation on the circumstances behind the crash of a Honda Jet landing at Jeddah Airport in July, when it skidded off the runway into an unpaved area.

He said the purpose of the presentation was to “increase awareness within the business-jet community of the importance of crew personal knowledge and competence beyond the threshold of regulatory minimums.”

Middle East Business Aviation Assocation (MEBAA) founding and executive chairman, Ali Alnaqbi, organiser of the Marrakech event, and newly chairman-elect of governing council of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), issued a call for new blood to enter the industry in Morocco and around the Arab region.

“A lot of professionals are leaving the business aviation industry because they are getting old and retiring,” he said. “If you look at the amount of new generation entering into our industry, it is very limited. It’s a great industry, but only if people know [what it represents]. We are a major factor in the development of the entire economy.”