Over one hundred companies in the sector have established themselves in the country. Aircraft parts produced in Morocco are even exported to Brazil. The president of a sector association wishes to bring Brazilian jet company Embraer to the country.
Casablanca – Morocco is working to develop the country’s aerospace technology sector. Since 2001, more than one hundred companies in the sector have established themselves in the country and exports revenues since then have already reached US$ 1 billion. The aircraft parts produced in the country are shipped to many nations in Europe, the Gulf and also Brazil. Morocco is currently focused on the French market, and wishes to double it’s aerospace production chain by 2020 by attracting new companies from England, United States and Brazil.
“We held meetings with high executives from Embraer in the last two years. They have sent people over to see the conditions in Morocco. I believe this country is interesting for them,” stated Hamid Benbrahim El-Andaloussi, president of the Moroccan Aerospace Industries Association (GIMAS), in an interview with Brazilian journalists this Tuesday (28).
According to Andaloussi, Brazilian jet company Embraer is negotiating aircrafts for Royal Air Maroc and a compensation with the Moroccan government, which could be the installation of a maintenance center in the country, but nothing yet has been defined. However, the executive believes his country’s good location is an attractive factor for the Brazilian company.
“The decision to establish a base here is a strategic issue, and it takes time, but a global company such as Embraer cannot ignore Morocco. If you wish to be competitive and penetrate the European market, you must be in Morocco. We have the best cost-benefit ratio,” evaluated the GIMAS president, referring to the advantages for businesses in the sector. Sought by ANBA, Embraer declined to comment on any business possibilities.
In relation to the direct flights between Casablanca and São Paulo with Royal Air Maroc, which started in the beginning of December 2013, Andaloussi said that number of passengers that have used the route is still not available, but he believes the results will be positive. “I believe it is going well and will expand further with the World Cup,” he emphasized.
According to the GIMAS president, Morocco’s ambition in the aerospace sector “is to become a sector hub for Europe like Mexico is for the United States. We wish to transform Casablanca into a technology and training center in the next 20 years,” he stated.
In order to reach this objective, Morocco founded in 2011 the Moroccan Aerospace Institute (IMA). It was created in partnership by the public and private sectors to train workers according to the demand from the aerospace companies established in the country. Currently, Bombardier is IMA’s greatest client.
In class, the students learn how to manufacture and assemble jet parts. Since it was founded, over 1,000 workers have been trained at the entity, 10% of them for the Canadian company. Training is customized for each company and students are also prepared directly at the plants.
An investment of 100 million dirhams (US$ 12 million by current exchange rates) was required to build and equip the center. Students are recruited by the IMA itself, according to the companies’ demands, and training fees are free for them, covered in half by the institute and half by the companies requesting the training. In total, IMA has already served more than 40 companies in Morocco.
One of the aeronautical companies established in Morocco is Aircelle, part of the French Safran Group. Manufacturer of jet turbines, the company inaugurated their Moroccan plant in 2005 and, since 2008, jet parts produced in the Arab country are sold to Embraer, after being assembled in France.
“Embraer is our third greatest client, after Bombardier and Airbus,” said Benoit Martin Laprade, General Manager at Aircelle. Among the parts for Brazilian aircrafts produced in Morocco are devices to reduce engine noise by up to 90%, installed in the 170 model types.
Rolls Royce, GE, Cessna and Sukhoi are also on Aircelle Maroc’s list of clients. Last year, revenues of the Casablanca plant reached 101 million euro (US$ 138 million).