Royal Air Maroc to be privatised: World Air Transport Forum news

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.

Morocco ready to privatise Royal Air Maroc in 2009

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 Iberia having small shareholdings, of 2.73% and 0.91% respectively, and the balance held by private investors.


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. Morocco began the process of liberalising its aviation market in 2001 when it signed an Open Skies agreement with the US.


The market began to open to Europe in 2003 when low-cost carriers were allowed on an individual basis. This was followed with an Open Skies deal in 2006 with the European Union opening the market completely.


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 Casablanca in recent years with a fleet of 32 Boeing 737s and 767s.


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4 Responses to Royal Air Maroc to be privatised: World Air Transport Forum news

  1. souad 2 January, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Dear Mr benhima,
    au nom de tous les Marocains residents aux USA, on vous demande de revoir les prix de la RAM New your Casablanca, c vraiment trop cher pour les familles aussi bien que pour les celibataires, s’il vous plait faites quelque chose on aime notre pay, on aimerais bien s’y rendre chaque annee.

  2. Sofia 24 January, 2009 at 4:30 am #

    Dear Mr. Benhima,

    I’m sending you this letter on behalf of all the Moroccan Immigrants in the United States of America.

    We would love to visit our lovely country ”Morocco” every summer, but the Royal Air Maroc ticket Prices made this dream almost impossible to come true. As you know, all immigrants work so hard to make better future for them and their kids, and therefore, they are looking forward for the summer vacation as an opportunity to visit their beloved ones, relax and teach their children more of their background, language, culture….etc.

    Last year, I spent all of my savings wich was aproximately $4500 on the airline tickets wich is not fear. As you know, we work hard all year around to save this money, and finally when the summer vacation is here, we find ourselves divided into two parts {spend all the saving to go to our bled or stay in the us with broken harts}.

    That’s way, we’re coming all together, to ask you to find an alternative to the summer crazy prices as soon as possible (more specials for the month of july. august and september) and to thank you in advance for your cooperation.

    I hope that you’ll take our E-mail seriousely.

    Thank you again

  3. Amir H.Khan 31 July, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    I guess you shouldn’t privatise the RAM just for selling stakes which really means the steaks such as New York sirlion steak from Las Vegas casinos in Nevada,USA.Instead of privatising,you can get help from some of our friends in USA who are willing to run the airline for Morroco from increasing the passenger sales to boosting the airline profits for the country’s interest and for the recognition of the country in the world market,as we’re aware of for almost every airline that’s flying higher without getting the support from America.Anyways,we’re ready to help your airline as we’ve seen one of your crews in a photograph and has raised friendship and are helping your staff for running your RAM the way it is for maintaining our friendship.And just for the sake of friendship with the RAM crews ,we from America are ready to help RAM too as well as several other airlines that are helped by us.
    We’ll stay in touch with the RAM news.
    Good Luck!

  4. Sam 4 November, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Hello everyone,

    I believe that RAM as an airline had so much advantage compare to other airlines in the industry.
    Situated in north Africa(Morocco) it s a very strategic place for the global airline traffic.Casablanca Marrakesh and Tangier can be 3 good hubs in Morocco for RAM .
    I flew RAM so many times but there is something missing there, i believe it s the management,lack of Marketing and technology to be implemented on RAM politic.
    Look at the other airlines who started just recently but they are among the growing airlines in the world now.
    If management will invest in a proper way RAM will be one of the best airlines in Africa and the world.
    I hope that you do understand what is my message is.

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