AfDB Helps Morocco Improve Airport Efficiency

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Tunis, 16 April 2009 –  The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group will help to improve the operational efficiency of airports across Morocco with a loan of € 240 million approved on Wednesday in Tunis by the institution’s Board.

This project involves upgrading facilities at the Casablanca, Fez, Agadir, Marrakech and Rabat, airports, which handle the bulk of air traffic to and from Morocco.

The project is part of the implementation of the general framework of the National Development Plan (NDP) initiated in 2002 by the government, to consolidate the rule of law and improve the efficiency of the Moroccan administration; open up the domestic market to competition; strengthen and modernize transport networks, upgrade the national economic fabric and private sector support, as well as reduce poverty and social disparities.

The project involves:

  • the extension and rehabilitation of terminal areas of the airports concerned, including their installations,
  • construction of infrastructure for these areas (lighting, aircraft parking areas, car parks, runway slip and access roads), and the construction and installation of the 2nd  Regional Control Centre (RCC) in Agadir;
  • the supply and installation of various security and safety equipment and air navigation aid in the various airports; and
  • the establishment of photovoltaic micro-power stations and an integrated wind farm to supply electricity in the various air terminals.

The Bank’s involvement in the project responds primarily to the need to consolidate the achievements of the institution’s three previous successful operations in the sub-sector involving airport rehabilitation, capacity improvement and expansion as well as transport sector reform.

The Bank’s intervention in the Third Airport Project will, in particular, enable Morocco to improve its airport resources and installations in conformity with international standards on air transport capacity, safety and security to meet traffic demand and satisfy all the convergence commitments stipulated in the “Open Sky” and “Single Sky” Agreements signed with the European Union. Thus, Morocco will place itself in a vantage position in the increasingly competitive international air transport market that is highly demanding in safety, security and environmental matters.

The major beneficiaries of the project are:

  • the National Airports Authority (ONDA), a public establishment in charge of airport investments, as well as the management and operation of Moroccan airport infrastructure and facilities;
  • airlines and users of airports, who will benefit from the significantly shorter timeframes due to the speed in the handling of traffic, as well as the comfort, safety and security conditions;
  • commercial and service companies for which new opportunities will be provided within the airports;
  • the tourism and handicraft sector; and
  • the local communities that will be the primary beneficiaries of jobs created, notably women who are highly active in the handicraft sector, retail business and maintenance of public conveniences.

In 2007, the airports concerned handled 91% of total passenger traffic, comprising about 12 million persons. Beyond the geographic area covered by these major development poles of the country, the project area covers the entire country, particularly as a result of a new air navigational system that will cover the entire Moroccan air space.

The project is estimated at UA 274.31 million, about € 320.03 million (3.37 billion Moroccan Dirham - MAD). The Bank loan will cover the foreign currency cost of the project, representing 75% of the total cost. The 25% balance, corresponding to the entire local costs, will be borne by the ONDA.


*1 UA = US$ 1.49507= €1.12344 = 12.7137 MAD as at 16/04/2009

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