This section requires expansion with: much, much, much more information about events that took place before the 2000s. (December 2011)
A Royal Air Maroc Caravelle at Dusseldorf Airport in 1973. The carrier ordered its first two aircraft of the type in 1958.:101
Royal Air Maroc—Compagnie Nationale de Transports Aériens was formed in July 1953 (1953-07) as a result of the merger of Compagnie Chérifienne de'l Air (Air Atlas) —setup in 1946 with Junkers Ju-52s— and Compagnie Chérifienne de Transports Aériens Air Maroc, that was founded in 1947 and commenced scheduled operations in 1949. The fleet of the newly formed airline included six Bretagnes, four Commandos, five DC-3s and two Languedocs. These aircraft worked on routes previously served by the predecessor companies, plus Frankfurt, Geneva and Paris. The name Royal Air Maroc (RAM) was adopted on 28 June 1957,[nb 1] with the government of Morocco having a 67.73% stake.Hajj flights commenced in 1957. The carrier's fleet comprised 16 aircraft by April 1958 (1958-04), including four DC-4s, three DC-3s, seven Bretagnes and two C-46s. In May 1958 (1958-05), the airline ordered two Caravelles.:101 In July, a number of long-haul routes were launched using four Lockheed L-749 Constellationsleased from Air France, and the coastal Oran–Oujda run —which had been suspended in May— was reopened. Also in 1958, the carrier started flying to Gibraltar. The arrival of the Constellations enabled the airline to withdraw the DC-4s from service.
A single Caravelle was part of the fleet of four L-749 Constellations, four DC-4s and three DC-3s by April 1960 (1960-04), making the Caravelle the first jet aircraft operated by the company; another Caravelle was yet to be delivered. The type began serving the Rabat–Bamako route in July 1961 (1961-07). By 1964, there were three Caravelles in the fleet. A fourth was ordered in late 1964. At April 1965 (1965-04), the company had 758 employees and chairmanship was held by Mohammed Al Fassi. The route network included services within North Africa, and also linked North Africa with France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland; the Casablanca–Dakar and Casablanca–Las Palmas sectors were also flown. Shareholding at the time was split between the government of Morocco (64%), Air France (21%), Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (7.6%), Aviacion y Comercio (5%) and others (2.4%). An order for a fifth Caravelle was placed in early 1968. By 1969, all routes to Europe and North Africa were flown using solely these aircraft. In 1969, the carrier placed its first order with Boeing.
Royal Air Maroc took delivery of the first Boeing aircraft, a Boeing 727-200, in 1970, with the carrier deploying it on revenue service on 15 May. Subsidiary airline Royal Air Inter was formed early in the year to undertake domestic routes using Fokker F-27 Friendship equipment; this sister company started operations on 2 April 1970, and by May 1971 (1971-05), it was serving Agadir, Al Hoceima, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh, Oujda, Rabat, Tangier and Tetouan. The RAM's fleet at May 1971 (1971-05) comprised two Boeing 727-200s, along with four Caravelles and two SIAI Marchetti SF.260s. At a cost of US$8.85 million, a third Boeing 727-200 was ordered in 1972. In 1974, the carrier ordered a single Boeing 727-200 Advanced, followed by an order for a fourth Boeing 727-200. Also that year, negotiations with Air France for the lease of a Boeing 707-320B started. By March 1975 (1975-03), the Boeing 707 was part of an 11-strong fleet, along with four Boeing 727-200s, four Caravelles, and two SIAI Marchetti SF.260s. RAM flew the leased Boeing 707 to New York for the first time in April 1975 (1975-04), becoming the first Arab airline in serving this destination. During the year, the company acquired three Boeing 737-200s to replace the Caravelles. Also in 1975, a weekly non-stop service to Rio de Janeiro was started. An order for three more Boeing 727-200s was placed in early 1976. That year, the four Caravelles were withdrawn from service and sold.
In July 1980 (1980-07), the carrier's fleet consisted of a single Boeing 747-200B, two Boeing 707-320Cs, one Boeing 707-320, seven Boeing 727-200s, and three Boeing 737-200s, pending delivery of a Boeing 727-200 that was ordered in January 1980 (1980-01). At a cost of US$16 million, an additional Boeing 737-200 was ordered in 1981, with the US Export-Import Bank arranging a US$5 million loan to secure the delivery, and RAM and private financers funding the balance. The airline joined the International Air Transport Association in 1982.
In July 1986 (1986-07), RAM was the first African airline that introduced the Boeing 757 into service. The first of these aircraft that was delivered to the company set a record for the type when it flew the distance separating Seattle from Casablanca, 4,910 nautical miles (9,090 km; 5,650 mi), non-stop.
In the early days of the decade, the last of the 707s was removed from the fleet. Meanwhile, newer, more efficient, Classic 400 and 500 Series Boeing 737s were introduced to increase the frequency of European routes. By the middle of the decade all 727s had disappeared. To consolidate its North American operations, Royal Air Maroc purchased a single Boeing 747-400. As the decade progressed, new routes to previously under-served African airports were opened.
With the increasing number of passengers and newly opened routes as well as increasing oil prices, there was a need to buy new aircraft. In 2000 an order for 20 Next Generation Boeing 737 aircraft and 4 Airbus A321s was placed. Meanwhile more routes to west and central African cities were opened.
RAM was now changing, from providing flights to meet the demands of foreign tourists and Moroccan expatriates, to providing connections between European cities and African cities via the Casablanca hub. In 2002, the company leased two 767s to replace the single 747 in North American routes.
Morocco and the EU signed an open skies agreement in late 2006. This means that Royal Air Maroc will have to face tough competition from low cost carriers eager to exploit profitable routes between Western Europe and Morocco. A further challenge arises from the high cost of kerosene and the fact that the company may have to drop some of its unprofitable domestic and international routes.
As of October 2013[update], Royal Air Maroc's CEO position is held by Driss Benhima, who took office in February 2006 (2006-02).
Royal Air Maroc has its head office on the grounds of Casablanca-Anfa Airport in Casablanca. In 2004 the airline announced that it would move its head office from Casablanca to the Nouaceur Province, near Mohammed V International Airport. MAP, the official state news agency, said that the construction of the headquarters and a 500 room conference hotel would take 1 year and 6 months. The agreement to build the head office in Nouaceur was signed in 2009.
The carrier made a profit of MAD836 million (some US$83 million) for the fiscal year (FY) 2012, the best result in ten years. As part of cost-cutting measures that included the reduction in the number of employees by 1,974 between June 2011 (2011-06) and October 2012 (2012-10) and a fleet renewal program, among others, the net income for the same period was reduced to −MAD43 million from −MAD1.67 billion in FY 2011.
Ownership and subsidiaries
A Boeing 737-400 wearing a combined Royal Air Maroc/Atlas Blue livery in 2009. The Atlas Blue fleet was merged with the parent company's one in 2011.
As of June 2013[update], the airline was fully owned by the Moroccan government, which has considered the privatisation of the company for about 20 years; the latest plan, dating from late 2012, reportedly included selling up to 44% of the stakes to a Gulf airline. Royal Air Maroc has 5,719 employees.[timeframe?]
As of December 2012[update], The Group Royal Air Maroc had the following subsidiaries:
Atlas Blue: RAM's fully owned low-cost subsidiary. It was created on 28 May 2004, and started operations in July the same year. Based in Marrakech, it initially operated a single Boeing 737-400 that was transferred from its parent company and deployed on charter routes to France. Operations were integrated into RAM in 2009, while the fleets of both carriers officially merged on 10 February 2011.
Atlas Catering Airlines Services
Atlas Hospitality Morocco, a chain of hotels
Matis, dedicated to the aircraft wiring industry
RAM's frequent flyer programme is called Safar Flyer. As of January 2013[update], cardholders can earn and redeem miles either by flying RAM, its direct subsidiaries, or its partner airlines Iberia and Etihad Airways; hotels and car rental companies offer benefits too.
After the carrier's Board of Directors agreed to buy a number of Boeing 787s on 29 July 2005, a memorandum of understanding for the acquisition of these aircraft was signed with Boeing on 31 July the same year. The deal, worth US$650 million and including five Dreamliners, was confirmed in early November that year, with initial delivery slated for October 2008 (2008-10). The purchase contract was signed in December 2005 (2005-12), and also included an aircraft of the type on option. Following an over-US$100 million-worth contract that was signed in February 2006 (2006-02), these aircraft will be powered with General Electric GEnx engines. As of September 2012[update], the first Dreamliner is expected to join the fleet in December 2014 (2014-12).
RAM was the launch customer for the ATR 72-600, when it took delivery of two of these aircraft, on behalf of its regional subsidiary RAM Express, in August 2011 (2011-08). The carrier had placed an order for four aircraft of the type in March 2009 (2009-03), along with two ATR 42-600s.
In June 2013 (2013-06), RAM's CEO told that airline is seeking for new generation aircraft as a replacement for the ageing fleet, that the carrier will need 20 to 30 new aircraft by 2020, and that the Boeing 787 was being considered for long-haul routes, whereas the Airbus Neo, the Boeing Max, Bombardier CSeries and Embraers were all being considered for medium-haul flights.
1 April 1970: A Caravelle III, registration CN-CCV, that was due to complete the first leg of an international Agadir–Casablanca–Paris scheduled flight, crashed on approach to Nouasseur Airport, near Berrechid, when control was lost at about 500 feet (150 m). Sixty one people perished in the accident, out of 82 occupants of the aircraft.
22 December 1973: a Caravelle VIN, registration OO-SRD, that was completing the first leg of an international non-scheduled Paris–Tangier–Casablanca passenger service, crashed into mountainous terrain on approach to Tangier Airport, some 40 kilometres (25 mi) off the airport. The aircraft had been leased from Sobelair. All 106 occupants on board perished in the accident.
21 August 1994: an ATR 42-300 operating Flight 630, the domestic Agadir-Casablanca route lost control at 16000 feet, entered a steep dive, and crashed into nearby mountains. Investigators suspect that the pilot deliberately disengaged the autopilot and directed the aircraft into the ground. All of the 44 passengers and crew members were killed.
^"Air transport". Flight International: 589. 9 May 1974. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013. "Royal Air Maroc has ordered an Advanced 727-200 for delivery in March 1975, bringing its fleet of 727s to four."
^"Airliner market". Flight International119 (3757): 1294. 9 May 1981. Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. "Royal Air Maroc has ordered a Boeing 737-200 for March 1982 delivery. The US Export-Import Bank is to lend nearly $5 million for the purchase, which includes an extra engine and other spares. Total value of the order is $16 million, almost $9 million of which will be raised by private financing. Royal Air Maroc will make a cash payment for the balance."
^"Short hauls". Flight International: 912. 25 September 1982. Retrieved 31 December 2012. "Royal Air Maroc, the Moroccan national airline, has joined the International Air Transport Association as an active member."
^"Background". Boeing. August 2012. Archived from the original on 28 December 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
^"Other News - 09/14/2007". Air Transport World. 17 September 2007. Archived from the original on 28 December 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012. "Etihad Airways and Royal Air Maroc signed a codeshare agreement under which EY customers will be able connect to select West African destinations beyond Casablanca. RAM passengers will have access to EY's "expanding global flight network," it said. EY operates four-times-weekly Abu Dhabi-Casablanca service."
^"Casablanca crash". Flight International: 584. 9 April 1970. Retrieved 31 December 2012. "Caravelle of Royal Air Maroc crashed on the approach to Nouasseur Airport, Casablanca, on April 1. The aircraft, on the Agadir-Casablanca-Paris route, had a crew of six and was carrying 76 passengers; there were 22 survivors of whom ten were reported to be in a serious condition in hospital. Eye-witness reports indicate that the aircraft suddenly lost height from about 500ft, 180m. on final approach and that the fuselage broke in half on impact."