Boost for Moroccan aerospace industry

Regional security challenges are the main concern for Morocco’s armed forces and it obtained increased access to defence technology thanks to improving defence ties with France and the United States, and has received military training and equipment from both.

Image: David Oliver

Morocco's relative stability has attracted Western defence companies such as Airbus, Safran and Thales to establish aerospace manufacturing and servicing facilities in the country.

The aerospace industry sector in Morocco currently accounts for some 142 companies with 17,000 employees that have a turnover of around US$2 billion in exports. In 2020, Morocco’s aerospace industry ranked 36th globally and third in the Middle East and Africa region.

The Moroccan government has actively supported the development of the aerospace industry, implementing initiatives and offering incentives to attract foreign investors. The government has also invested in infrastructure development, including the creation of aerospace industry clusters like the Midparc Free Zone near Casablanca.

The Moroccan government has also placed an emphasis on developing the infrastructure and resources necessary to attract maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) companies to its Technopark in Casablanca and the Mohammed VI Tanger-Tech City being built by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

In 2018 the French aircraft manufacturer Daher invested €15 million in its third plant in Morocco in the Tangier Free Zone, near the airport. It supports production for international aerospace programmes partnered by Daher and provide a platform to meet the needs of customers like Airbus Commercial Aircraft, Airbus Helicopters and Dassault.

In addition, some of the major MRO companies in Morocco have established training centers to enhance the skills of their workforce.

The Belgian Orizio Group, formerly the Blueberry Group, has been operating in Morocco since 2012 through its subsidiary Sabca Maroc which recently announced its investment of more than €17 million in the construction of a new 16,000 square metre facility which will house Pilatus, Airbus and Dassault aerostructure assembly lines in the Nouaceur area. It also participated, in co-operation with the Moroccan Air Force, to the modernisation of its fleet of Dassault Mirage F1C/E and Alpha Jet training aircraft.

A joint venture, Maintenance Aero Maroc (MAM), was formed between Morocco, Lockheed Martin and the Orizio Group in 2022, to carry out MRO of Moroccan Air Force F-16C/Ds and C-130H Hercules. This project represents an additional development of the Orizio Group in the Kingdom of Morocco.

The partnership includes the construction of a 15,000 square metre Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) centre for military aircraft and helicopters at Benslimane Airport for the first time and supports the creation of up to 300 jobs.

A joint venture, Maintenance Aero Maroc (MAM), has been formed between Morocco, Lockheed Martin and the Orizio Group, to carry out MRO of Moroccan Air Force F-16C/Ds and C-130H Hercules.

In 2021 Morocco confirmed a US4.25 billion contract for 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. Deliveries will begin in 2024 and Morocco has an option for 12 additional helicopters. The Moroccan Administration of National Defense and Boeing signed an industrial agreement in February 2023 as part of the extension of the acquisition programme of AH-64 Apache Helicopters. Boeing is already a partner of the MATIS Aerospace joint venture which produces aircraft wire bundles and harnesses in Morocco.

In June 2023 Pratt & Whitney Canada launch an affiliate, Pratt & Whitney Maroc and is building a new facility in Casablanca’s MidParc Free Zone that will cover an area of 130.000 square feet. According to It will be built according to state-of-the-art efficiency principles, both in terms of quality and cost, employ up to 200 staff and is due to open in 2025. The components factory would allow the company to increase its presence and strengthen its relationship with its customers and partners in the region.

David Oliver

David Oliver

David has been a photojournalist for more than 40 years specialising in aerospace and defence.