Morocco aims to surpass 30 million air passengers by the end of 2024, according to Transport and Logistics Minister Mohamed Abdeljalil. Speaking at a thematic group meeting preparing for the annual session on public policy evaluation in tourism, Abdeljalil highlighted the growth in the air transport sector, attributing it to enhanced infrastructure quality, increased tourism appeal, significant performance improvements, and reduced ticket prices, alongside a tangible rise in international air traffic and flight routes.

Since Morocco’s adoption of the open skies policy with the European Union, passenger traffic has surged from 7.7 million in 2005 to 15 million in 2010, over 18 million in 2016, and more than 25 million in 2019 before the global health crisis. In 2023, the number reached 27 million.

Record growth across airports

In 2023, most Moroccan airports recorded double-digit growth compared to 2022: Marrakech (+41%), Rabat (+38%), Tetouan (+35%), Tangier (+34%), Fez (+31%), Agadir (+30%), Nador (+22%), and Oujda (+10%).

Abdeljalil noted a similar trend in passenger traffic across different geographical regions in 2023 compared to 2022, with increases of (+68%) in South America, (+45%) in Africa, (+34%) in the Maghreb, (+32%) in Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East, and (+28%) in North America.

Top destinations and market growth

In 2023, passenger traffic to and from France and Spain, which represent around 41% of the market share, saw increases of (+27%) and (+34%) respectively. The German market experienced the highest growth, with a 55% increase.

This upward trend continued in the first quarter of 2024, with several airports showing double-digit growth compared to the same period in 2023: Marrakech (+22%), Agadir (+23%), Rabat-Salé (+32%), Dakhla (+19%), Essaouira (+38%), and Ouarzazate (+36%).

Factors driving success

The strong performance in air traffic is attributed to new flight routes, increased weekly flights on regular routes, and high aircraft occupancy rates. For instance, Marrakech Menara Airport benefited from over 90% plane occupancy and the addition of 10 international and 4 domestic weekly flights.

At Agadir-Al Massira Airport, the first quarter of 2024 saw the creation of 13 new air routes, offering 19 additional weekly flights, including those for the Omra pilgrimage. Rabat-Salé Airport welcomed a new airline, EasyJet, which launched 5 new routes with 13 weekly flights.

Domestic air traffic in the first quarter of 2024 recorded 600,000 passengers, a 2% increase compared to the same period in 2023, with a recovery rate of around 90% compared to 2019. International air traffic reached 6.3 million passengers, a 15% rise from the first quarter of 2023.