July 28, 2008

Morocco Achieves World’s Best Growth in International Air Traffic

Morocco achieves world's best growth in international air traffic

RABAT, July 26 (Xinhua) -- International air traffic in Morocco grew 20 percent in 2007, the world's highest growth rate, thanks to the implementation in 2006 of the Open Sky agreement with the European Union, local MAP news agency reported on Saturday.

Morocco's Open Sky agreement with the EU, signed in December 2005, helped attracting 22 international airline companies, and opened Morocco's airports to most of the EU's international airports in 37 countries, up from 47 airports in 29 countries before the signing of the agreement, MAP said quoting Minister of Transport and Equipment, Karim Ghellab.

In 2007, 10 companies accessed Morocco's skies with 38 new weekly flights.

Today Morocco is cited as an example for the success of its leading policy in opening up its skies, Ghellab said at the Board meeting of the country's airport authority (ONDA).

More than 12 million passengers were transported, or transited, from Moroccan airports, brining the overall traffic growth to 17 percent compared to 2006, the report added.

ONDA's turnover stood at more than two billion Dirhams (274 million U.S. dollars) on airport service charges. ONDA netted some 78.4 million dollars, up 27.4 percent from 2006.

The airport authority spent about 275 million dollars in investments mainly to expand terminal installations, according to the report.

The north African kingdom is aiming to establish aeronautics as one of the pillars of its economy.

According to official figures, the sector, which hires 5,000 peoples, is due to create 12,000 jobs by 2015, and to turn over 626 million dollars.

In January 2008, Morocco organized the Aeroexpo Maroc, the first international exhibition for the aeronautic industry and services in North Africa, which brought together major national and international aeronautics operators.

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