Royal Air Maroc Airline History

From 1957 ...

Royal Air Maroc

(Arabic: الخطوط الملكية المغربية‎, Al-Khuṭũṭ al-Malikiyyah al-Maghribiyyah, literally Royal Moroccan Lines or Royal Moroccan Airlines; Berber: Amuddu Ugenna Ageldan Umerruk, MGGM),


More commonly known as simply RAM, is the Moroccan national carrier, as well as the country '​s largest airline. RAM is fully owned by the government of Morocco, and has its headquarters on the grounds of Casablanca-Anfa Airport. From its base at Mohammed V International Airport, the carrier operates a domestic network in Morocco, scheduled international flights to Africa, Asia, Europe, North & South America, and occasional charter flights that include Hajj services

Early years

Royal Air Maroc—Compagnie Nationale de Transports Aériens was formed in July 1953 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, 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, including four DC-4s, three DC-3s, seven Bretagnes and two C-46s. In May 1958, the airline ordered two Caravelles. In July, a number of long-haul routes were launched using four Lockheed L-749 Constellations leased 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, 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. By 1964, there were three Caravelles in the fleet. A fourth was ordered in late 1964.[12] At April 1965, 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.


The 1980s

By July 1980, Royal Air Maroc had 3,583 employees. At this time, 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.[27] Another Boeing 727-200, ordered in January that year,[28] was still pending delivery.[27] 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. Delivery was slated for March 1982.[29] During 1982, two Boeing 737-200Cs were ordered for US$33 million; deliveries were arranged for March and June 1983.[30] Late that year, the airline joined the International Air Transport Association.[31] In July 1986, RAM was the first African airline that introduced the Boeing 757 into service.[32] 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.[33]

The 1990s

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.

The future

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.

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