Morocco’s airports grow passenger numbers by 9% in 2013; easyJet and Ryanair lead way with most new routes
Morocco’s airports handled a record 16.5 million passengers in 2013, thanks to traffic growth of 9.2%. This followed a disappointing 2012 when demand fell by 3.6%, the first such drop in a decade, a by-product, most likely, of the social unrest seen in much of North Africa that year. The country saw airport passenger numbers double between 2003 and 2009, in part thanks to an ‘open-skies’ agreement with the EU, which encouraged many of Europe’s LCCs to enter the market. In April 2013 Ryanair even went so far as to open not one, but two bases in Morocco, at Fez (one aircraft) and Marrakech (two aircraft).
In 2013, monthly passenger numbers were up year-on-year in every month except February and July, with traffic growing by more than 15% in August, October and December. Such high growth rates have not been seen since the end of 2010. Flights to Europe (+16%) accounted for 72% of all passengers at Moroccan airports in December, while domestic traffic (+26%) represented a further 10%.
Rabat reports rapid rise of 38%
All of Morocco’s eight main airports reported traffic growth in 2013, ranging from Rabat (+38%) to Nador (up just 1.6%). The country’s two busiest airports, Casablanca and Marrakech, which handle over 70% of all Moroccan airport traffic in 2013, reported traffic growth of 5.2% and 13.5% respectively.
Marrakech attracts most new LCC routes
Comparing schedule data for July 2014 with July 2013, reveals that several foreign airlines have either already started, or plan to start, new services, mostly from European airports. The notable exception is Saudi Arabian Airlines which resumes flights between Riyadh and Casablanca at the beginning of April. The following table summarises the new routes (since July 2013) that will be operated with at least two weekly flights this summer.
|Casablanca (CMN)||Saudi Arabian Airlines||Riyadh (RUH)||1 April 2014||3|
|transavia.com France||Paris Orly (ORY)||3 July 2014||4|
|Marrakech (RAK)||easyJet||Toulouse (TLS)||29 October 2013||3|
|transavia.com||Rotterdam (RTM)||29 October 2013||3|
|easyJet||Bristol (BRS)||21 December 2013||2|
|Bordeaux (BOD)||1 April 2014||3|
|Nice (NCE)||1 April 2014||3|
|Ryanair||Dublin (DUB)||2 April 2014||2|
|transavia.com France||Strasbourg (SXB)||21 April 2014||2|
|Agadir (AGA)||Monarch Airlines||London Gatwick (LGW)||2 May 2014||2|
|Manchester (MAN)||3 May 2014||2|
|Tangier (TNG)||TAP Portugal||Lisbon (LIS)||27 October 2013||5|
|Rabat (RBA)||Ryanair||Madrid (MAD)||6 November 2013||3|
|Girona (GRO)||7 November 2013||2|
|London Stansted (STN)||5 February 2014||3|
|Source: anna.aero new routes database and Innovata / Diio Mi for July 2013 and July 2014|
Ryanair’s latest Moroccan service, between London Stansted and Rabat, launched last week bringing to six the number of destinations it serves from the airport, the others being Brussels Charleroi, Girona, Madrid, Marseille, Paris Beauvais.
In addition, SWISS launched its only Moroccan service last October, operating twice-weekly between Geneva and Marrakech until the end of May. According to schedule data the route is then suspended for the summer months before resuming in mid-September.