Royal Air Maroc has taken delivery of the first two of five new Boeing 737-800s being leased from General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).
Royal Air Maroc received the first aircraft in late August and the second earlier this week. The flag carrier has a large 737 fleet, with five 737-400s, one 737-300, six 737-500s, six 737-700s and 23 737-800s. It also flies four A321s, one 747-400 and five 767-300ERs, as well as two ATR 42-300s and four ATR 72-200s for its regional network service.
In August the airline became the first in the world to operate the new ATR 72-600 model when it received its first two aircraft. By September next year the carrier will have received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, four of which are on order.
Royal Air Maroc is adding new, more efficient aircraft into its fleet to reduce operating costs. Its 737-800s will allow it to retire its ageing 767s, 737-400s and –500s. The airline officially announced it will reduce its fleet size due to its tenuous financial situation – it will place eleven aircraft (four Airbus A321s and five 737-500s) in storage.
Royal Air Maroc is experiencing financial instability due to high oil prices, declining passenger numbers and competition from low cost carriers, and will cut more than a thousand jobs and introduce new aircraft into its fleet over the next several years as part of a broader restructuring process.
The airline will cut 1 560 of its 5 300 employees by 2013. Other restructuring methods include possibly privatising the airline with a 30% stake by a foreign carrier, shutting down certain routes and restructuring management.
According to the Centre for Aviation, Morocco’s flag carrier may be losing up to 2 million euros a month, while Arabian Aerospace reported that losses may amount to US$100 million for this financial year. In late September the Moroccan government offered the carrier a US$193.3 million bailout package
Royal Air Maroc flies to some 83 destinations in Africa, Europe, Middle East and North America.