Driss Benhima, president of Royal Air Maroc, talked to me this morning here at the World Air Transport Forum about the planned privatisation of his carrier. Here is the story published on Air Transport Intelligence around midday.
Moroccan flag carrier Royal Air Maroc is on the blocks to be privatised next year. The country's government listed the carrier among several state-owned companies to be sold off in its recently announced budget bill.
The state has a 96.13% stake in Royal Air Maroc with both Air France and
Commenting on the announcement at the World Air Transport Forum in Paris, Driss Benhima, president of Royal Air Maroc, said: "I can't say what the privatisation of Royal Air Maroc will look like exactly as it is a process managed by the government but I understand the identification of a strategic partner is a higher priority compared with achieving a simple financial transaction."
The government's budget bill will be considered by the Moroccan parliament in the coming weeks and is scheduled to be passed by year-end. "The management of Royal Air Maroc will make its best effort to support whatever parliament and the government decide," said Benhima.
The privatisation of Royal Air Maroc is the next step in a major restructuring of the country's air transport policy and industry.
The market began to open to
In the first phase of the privatisation, expected to be completed during 2009, the government will sell around a 20% stake in the airline. A further stake could be sold at a later date and a public listing is envisaged in the second phase of the process in the coming years.
The government is seeking an airline partner for Royal Air Maroc to give the carrier access to larger global networks. The partner should also bring access to one of the global airline alliances.
This year Royal Air Maroc will make a small profit on revenues of some €1.2 billion ($1.5 billion), making it one of the few African carriers to remain in the black.
"Our fundamentals are very good but we need to work with a partner to build our management skills in areas like technology, yield management and pricing, network planning and maintenance," said Benhima.
The carrier has been steadily building its hub operations at