By Ahmed Eljechtimi
MARRAKECH (Reuters) – Morocco’s airlines RAM will launch a tender by the end of the year to purchase 200 airplanes to be delivered within 10 years to meet rising demand from tourists ahead of the 2030 World Cup, RAM chief executive officer Abdelhamid Addou said on Monday.
RAM seeks to buy mostly medium haul planes, but would also purchase long and short-haul ones to bolster its competitiveness in a growing African market, Addou told Reuters.
The tender is part of RAM’s plan to quadruple its fleet from 50 aircrafts within a decade, prior to Morocco co-hosting the 2030 World Cup together with Spain and Portugal.
“What we have already prepared for 2030 will put us in a very good position to host this World Cup,” Addou said on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
RAM, one of the largest airlines in Africa, already connects some 50 African airports.
The airline has played a key role in facilitating Morocco’s investment push in Africa, where the north African country’s major banks, telecom companies and phosphates and fertilizers manufacturer are operating.
RAM has also said its expansion is conducive to Morocco’s aims to attract 17.5 million tourists by 2026, up from 11 million last year. In 2019 Morocco had 13 million visitors.
Plans to privatize or list RAM in Casablanca stock exchange are “not for the moment… Let’s first start by developing the airline and making it much stronger,” Addou said.
He said the annual meetings of the multinational institutions was a chance to seek financing from investment funds and banks for RAM’s growth plan.
“The market is there, the potential, the future, the world Cup and the tourism strategy are all there,” said Addou.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Chris Reese and Tomasz Janowski)