Moroccan growth stalls after traffic doubles in six years; Ryanair still #2 despite plans to cut 34 flights this winter

Female arabian protesters.

Ryanair's cuts, of 34 weekly services from October, represent about 15% of its seats – less dramatic than it would like the public and the Moroccan Office National Des Aéroports to believe – and still leaving it #2 after Royal Air Maroc. Ryanair disputes the imposition of a new monopoly handling company claiming it will mean “a massive increase in charges.”

After a phenomenal period of growth that saw passenger numbers Morroccan airports double from 7.7 million in 2004 to 15.4 million in 2010, last year saw passenger traffic grew just 2%. The rapid growth can be almost completely explained by Morocco’s decision to sign an ‘open-skies’ agreement with the EU in December 2005, opening the way for Europe’s route hungry low-cost carriers to explore a new, tourist-friendly region only just a little bit further away than the south Spain resorts.

Moroccan airport traffic 1995-2011 Annual passengers (millions)

Source: ONDA

After a phenomenal period of growth that saw passenger numbers Morroccan airports double from 7.7 million in 2004 to 15.4 million in 2010, last year saw passenger traffic grew just 2%. The rapid growth can be almost completely explained by Morocco’s decision to sign an ‘open-skies’ agreement with the EU in December 2005, opening the way for Europe’s route hungry low-cost carriers to explore a new, tourist-friendly region only just a little bit further away than the south Spain resorts.

Moroccan airports traffic development Year-on-year chage in monthly passengers: 1/08 to 5/12

Source: ONDA

Closer analysis of the figures for 2012 provided by ONDA shows that the French market is down only 4%, but that demand from the rest of Europe has dropped 12%. Curiously the domestic Moroccan market itself is down just under 10%.

Casablanca handled 7.3 million passengers in 2011

Passenger numbers at the country’s three biggest airports (Casablanca, Marrakech and Agadir) remained almost unchanged in 2011 with growth coming from Nador (+29%), Tangier (+11%) and Oujda (+10%). As a result Nador has leapfrogged Oujda to be the country’s sixth busiest airport.

Top 8 Moroccan airports Annual passengers 2009-11 (millions)

Source: ONDA

Ryanair announces winter cuts as Jetairfly takes over jet4you

Morocco’s national carrier Royal Air Maroc still accounts for almost half of all scheduled seat capacity at the country’s airports, although its share has fallen slightly compared with last summer. Second-ranked Ryanair recently announced that it plans to axe 34 weekly services from 1 October, representing around 15% of its Moroccan summer seat capacity, including all flights at Oujda. However, this will still leave it as the second biggest carrier in the Moroccan market.

Top 12 airlines at Moroccan airports

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 August 2012 and w/c 1 August 2011

A significant development has been the decision by local TUI subsidiary, jet4you, to become part of Belgian TUI subsidiary Jetairfly. This explains the big jump in Jetairfly’s market share since last summer. Air France has almost doubled its market share thanks to the launch of services to Casablanca and Marrakech from its new regional bases in Marseille and Toulouse. Another carrier to significantly increase its market share in Morocco since last year is British Airways, which has taken over bmi’s Agadir, Casablanca and Marrakech services, although the Marrakech service does not operate in winter.

Emirates is now ranked inside the top 12 and has gained market share by replacing its daily A340-500 service with the larger 777-300ER. Qatar Airways and Etihad also serve Casablanca from their hubs in the Middle East.

New routes this summer from five Moroccan airports

Compared with last summer there have been rather fewer new airline services starting this summer but Air France, germanwings (which has not previously served Morocco), and Ryanair, have each launched three new services.

Airport Destination (Airline, start date, weekly frequency)
Casablanca Cologne/Bonn (germanwings, 6 June, 1)
Malaga (Hellitt Lineas Aereas, 4 May, 4)
Toulouse (Air France, 2 April, 3)
Marrakech Marseille (Air France, 25 March, 3)
Toulouse (Air France, 1 April, 2)
Nador Cologne/Bonn (germanwings, 30 March, 1-2)
Frankfurt Hahn (Ryanair, 27 March, 2)
Girona (Ryanair, 25 March, 2)
Oujda Madrid (Air Europa, 24 July, 1)
Marseille (Ryanair, 27 March, 2)
Tangier Cologne/Bonn (germanwings, 7 June, 1)
Source: anna.aero new route database, airline websites, OAG Max Online for w/c 2 August 2012

Comments

Comments are closed