Morocco Seeks to Become a Global Aviation Hub

After successfully establishing itself in the global automotive industry and attracting companies from Asia and Europe for vehicle manufacturing and assembly, Morocco is now turning its focus to the aviation sector to become a leader in this field.

In recent years, Morocco has attracted numerous international companies to invest in aircraft manufacturing. Today, the country has 142 companies active in this sector, providing around 20,000 jobs.

In 2022, the aviation sector’s exports exceeded 21 billion dirhams ($2.1 billion), compared to 15 billion dirhams ($1.5 billion) in 2021, a growth of 40%.

Morocco aims to manufacture a complete aircraft that will take off from Morocco for the first time, according to the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour. The country is already among the top 20 nations globally producing aircraft parts.

In April, the Moroccan government approved a draft decree on the design and production of aircraft, establishing standards for their design, production, and maintenance.

The government aims to increase the pace of investment in the sector, especially with media reports suggesting the imminent opening of the first drone factory in the country.

On January 18, Minister of Commerce and Industry Ryad Mezzour stated that the CEO of the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, Guillaume Faury, said, “there isn’t an aircraft flying in the sky without a part made in Morocco.”

Moroccan economist Abdelaziz Roummani noted that “the aviation sector in Morocco has evolved through stages that have contributed to its development and success.”

He explained that the first phase involved manufacturing parts, attracting more than 50 international companies, and then progressing to a stage where more than 45% of aircraft parts, including advanced parts, are manufactured. Morocco has thus succeeded in attracting major companies, increasing the number of jobs provided by the sector to 20,000 currently.

He also mentioned that over 140 companies are investing in the country, with dedicated zones for manufacturing and supplying aircraft parts. “Morocco now has the capability, strength, and experience to move to the next phase: assembling a complete aircraft.”

Roummani added, “When we talk about aircraft manufacturing, it is similar to car manufacturing where Morocco managed to produce a locally-made car.”

In mid-May 2023, Morocco announced the production of its first local car, called “Neo,” marking its entry among producing countries after years of assembly and attracting investments from international companies.

The Moroccan economist highlighted that after this phase, the country decided to move to the stage of manufacturing a complete aircraft to join the ranks of major nations in this field.

Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, stated that Morocco aspires to manufacture a complete aircraft that will take off from Morocco, a first of its kind.

He added in a speech at the House of Representatives in April that “the aviation sector has developed, and Morocco is now among the twenty major countries manufacturing aircraft and all their components.”

Mezzour clarified, “Morocco manufactures the most complex components needed in the aviation industry, and there is now a legitimate ambition to produce the first aircraft that will take off from Morocco. All its components will be assembled in the kingdom. This is the goal Morocco is working to achieve.”

To support the significant development of this sector, the government has started adopting new laws. In April, the Moroccan government approved a draft decree on the design and production of aircraft, setting standards for their design, production, and maintenance.

According to a government statement, the draft decree aims to set technical specifications to be respected by individuals seeking to obtain a license issued by the government authority responsible for civil aviation to carry out the design, production, and maintenance of aircraft in Morocco.

The decree also aims to define the conditions for accrediting individuals and companies to maintain aircraft airworthiness, considered an activity contributing to ensuring aviation safety.

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