The concept of this business is simple, it consists of renting out aircraft to airlines who find it more profitable to rent an aircraft for a certain period of time rather than buying it and having to bear significant depreciation and amortization costs. This is where air leasing operators come in. Their role is to meet the needs of airlines around the world by supplying them with aircraft intended for the carriage of mail or passengers. This sector is all the more dynamic as the development prospects are promising. In the next decade, the world’s civil aircraft fleet is expected to multiply, forcing lease operators to rub their hands in search of new opportunities.
Promote the Morocco label
In Morocco, this “new business”, which has been around for a long time, is in an embryonic phase. There is only one Moroccan operator in this sector. This is “ABL Aviation” led by Ali Ben Lmadani who is in the top 45 worldwide and who is based in the Kingdom through a support office in Casablanca, knowing that it has other offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc…
“We have an office in Morocco with very intelligent and highly qualified engineers and managers, we are proud of it,” welcomed Mr Ben Lmadani, during a press conference held Monday on the sidelines of the ISTAT EMEA Forum, which took place from 18 to September 20 in Marrakech. This is the first event of its kind to be organized in Morocco.
This edition, let’s not forget, was organized in Marrakech thanks to a long lobbying effort. It took nearly four years to persuade the operators to meet in the ocher city. This year, the forum brought together the world’s largest players in commercial aviation. Nearly 1500 participants took part. The aim is to take stock of the sector’s evolution and shed light on its development prospects. It is also important that operators of different nationalities can meet each other.
In addition to meeting and sharing experiences, this is an opportunity to raise sensitive topics such as investment, security, trade optimization and sustainability. “This event is both a showcase for international and national airlines and a powerful platform for the promotion of commercial aviation in Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” said the event organizers.
Still work to do!
In addition to these objectives, the major challenge for ABL, sponsor of the event, is to promote the Moroccan label as a promising market among the various global players. However, it is clear that there is still a long way to go to promote this sector. Several difficulties remain to unleash the potential of the Kingdom.
Firstly, the air transport market which is not so important for rental companies as the potential customers in Morocco are not many. Just realize that there is no cooperation between “ABL” and Royale Air Maroc. (See Three questions) Second, even the fact to settle more important in the Kingdom is a difficult decision for an operator like “ABL”, who, although led by a Moroccan endowed with the love of the country, is not enough is to ensure that it relocates its headquarters, which is currently located in Dublin, Ireland. An obvious choice given Ireland’s highly stimulative tax system. Therefore, taxation is an essential criterion for an operator.
In the eyes of Ben Lmadani, if Morocco offered a more encouraging regime, that would be good news. “If there is a non-double taxation system between Morocco and Ireland, and if Morocco lowers the level of taxation, it will certainly have great potential in terms of attractiveness,” he said. Ultimately, Morocco is able to forge a place for itself in this sector and thus become a leader, if only at the regional level. “Yes, there is potential”, says the boss of ABL in response to a question from “L’Opinion”, suggesting that Morocco should only be inspired by the “success stories” in Africa.
Mr Ben Lmadani cites the example of Ethiopia, including Ethiopian Airlines, which has managed to become “an African leader” with a consistent and quality fleet. Moreover, the more large-scale airlines there are with a large fleet and a good flow, the more the rental sector develops as a result.
In addition, who says it promotes Morocco’s image, says it must strengthen its ability to attract companies with African ambitions. That is, those who want to make the Kingdom a betting platform in the continental market. However, the market remains rigid as leasing costs remain very high, affecting competitiveness.