Air transport: a voluntarist opening
The key equation on which the development strategy of the tourist sector in Morocco is based concerns mainly the synchronization of the bed capacity with the air-seats offer, which should make it possible to transport the number of tourists expected to travel by the year 2010, in accordance with the Framework Agreement and the Implementation Agreement.
Since February 2004, Morocco has got involved in a structured and clear policy as regards the liberalization of its sky, a large scale project which has led to the entry into force of the Open Sky agreement between Morocco and the European Union (signed in December 2006). The fruitful effects of this new air transport policy have quickly become effective :
- Entry of new airlines (RyanAir, EasyJet…);
- Creation of the first Moroccan low-cost airlines intended for tourism : Atlas Blue followed by Jet 4 You;
- Setting up of partnerships with the integrated TO of the major tourist generating markets to Morocco (France, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy), with a view to densifying some priority lines and putting in place new ones and mainly the point to point policy, those linking the European cities with Moroccan destinations (Fez, Marrakech, Agadir, etc)
This policy has been accompanied by the adoption of some incentive measures such as :
- The setting up of a new pricing policy in the field of airport taxes, thus stimulating the increase in the air frequencies scheduled for "Morocco" destination and the creation of new air links towards Morocco ;
- The stimulation of the decline in prices of "Handling" and the concession of the second licence in favour of a private operator at the airports of Casablanca (CMN), Marrakech (RAK) and Agadir (AGA), since the end of 2004.
The impact of this liberalization has been almost immediate on the air traffic which has recorded tremendous achievements :
- +11.3 million international scheduled passengers in 2008, against 6.4million passengers in 2002.
- 136 071 trading movements in 2008 against 91 300 in 2002;
- The number of airlines towards Morocco increased from22 in 2002 to 44 in 2008;
- 162 new frequencies have been introduced since October 2006.
The low cost airlines have greatly contributed to the dynamic process of the point to point policy over the last two years: 51 new frequencies for RyanAir and 75 ones for EasyJet. On a worldwide scale, we notice a downward trend of the Packaging : it is due to the entry of the low cost flights and the promotion of sales through the Internet.