Written By HEIDI GIBSON
With the number of business aviation flights to Morocco predicted to reach 175, 000 by 2020 and the number of registered aircraft expected to increase to 1200 – this North African country is the ideal place to host this year’s MEBAA Show Morocco in September.
Due to its strategic location between Europe, the Middle East, and the rest of Africa, Morocco is seeing an increasing amount of movements which also include flights servicing the South American market and a new business airport expected to open in the country within the next few years.
“All the signs – plus of course the interest from the industry – point to a good year for business aviation in 2019 and I am very much looking forward to September when the show will take place – preceded by the MEBAA Conference where the market will be discussed in detail by representatives of key industry and government organisations, ‘’ said Founding & Executive Chairman of the Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi.
Now in its third edition at the Marrakech Menara airport the show will bring the industry together and offer them access to the growing market in addition to unrivalled networking opportunities.
“The show will help reinforce the importance of business aviation to local officials and prospective owners and operators, while also addressing transport issues faced by the region,” said Alnaqbi.
“The feedback we received from both the government and our exhibitors on previous editions of the show was fantastic. After the inaugural MEBAA Show Morocco in 2015 in Casablanca, MEBAA conducted research among the industry and our exhibitors and decided to move to a new location, Marrakech Menara Airport from 2017 onwards. With the move, based on the input from our stakeholders combined with the city’s reputation, we created an opportunity for more exhibitors to be part of the booming North African business aviation market,” he said.
The increase is attributable to the region’s thriving economies, notably Morocco and an expanding wealthy elite using business aircraft in increasing numbers.
“While it is early to state categorically what individual exhibitors will be bringing, historically we have seen some fantastic products and services on display and I am sure 2019 will be no exception. Already committed to exhibit are local and international names including Air Ocean, Maroc, XJet and Milano Prime, all of whom have exhibited before, plus new names that are keen to be part of the event as it grows, such as AMAC Aerospace, ‘’ he said.
About 3000 trade visitors are expected across the two days which will include heads of state, corporate aviation end users, private buyers and high net worth individuals plus many companies from within the business aviation supply chain.
The show will again bring together the key players in business aviation and feature a static display of the latest business aircraft.
But more than this, Alnaqbi said, one of the reasons that MEBAA sought to lead the industry in the MENA region is to work with governments and other key regulatory bodies to present the challenges faced by business aviation to try to find solutions.
He said at present anyone wishing to enter the market, own and/or register an aircraft or set up as fixed base operator (FBO) has to go through a tender process.
“In some markets, the main focus is on commercial aviation and regulations are designed with this in mind. We want to ensure that business aviation is recognised as an important part of the aviation industry as a whole, while speaking to our members to discover what issues they would like to see resolved. One example is of the grey market, where we have had some success in bringing it to the authority’s attention and are beginning to make inroads into it. There is still plenty more to do of course, which is why events like the MEBAA Show Morocco and MEBAA Conferences are so important in the region,” he said.
Morocco has more than 20 airports ranging from smaller local airports to internationally accessible hubs such as Mohamed V in Casablanca and of course Marrakech Menara Airport. The office National Des Aéroports (ONDA) has announced a plan for a dedicated business aviation airport, Tit Mellil in Casablanca, to be operational by 2025.
The Moroccan government has identified the growth potential in the aerospace and business aviation industries and has focused on creating an attractive environment for manufacturers to establish themselves in for several years now. Morocco’s 2020 aerospace goals include bringing in 100 new investors, creating 23,000 new jobs and generating $1.6 billion in new revenue.
“We are very proud to have the support of the Moroccan government for MEBAA Show Morocco, which will be organised with the support of ONDA,” he said