The concept of this business is simple, it consists of leasing aircraft to airlines that find it more profitable to lease an aircraft for a given period instead of buying it and have to bear significant depreciation and amortization. This is where air leasing operators come into the picture. Their role is to meet the needs of airlines worldwide by providing them with aircraft intended for the transport of mail or passengers. This sector is all the more dynamic as the development prospects are promising. Over the next ten years, the world’s civil aircraft fleet is expected to multiply, leaving leasing operators wringing their hands in search of new opportunities.
Promote the Morocco brand
In Morocco, this “new business”, which has existed for a long time, is in an embryonic stage. There is only one Moroccan operator in this sector. This is “ABL Aviation”, headed by Ali Ben Lmadani, which is among the top 45 worldwide, and which is established in the Kingdom through a support office, located 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 that,” welcomes Mr. Ben Lmadani during a press briefing held on Monday on the sidelines of the ISTAT EMEA Forum, which took place from September 18 to 20 in Marrakech. This is the first event of its kind to be organized in Morocco.
This edition, let’s remember, was organized in Marrakech thanks to a long lobbying effort. It took almost four years to persuade the operators to meet in Okkerbyen. This year, the forum brought together the world’s largest players in commercial aviation. Almost 1500 participants took part. The aim is to take stock of the sector’s development and shed light on its development opportunities. It is also important to allow operators of different nationalities to meet.
In addition to meetings and exchange of experiences, this is an opportunity to address sensitive topics such as investment, security, trade optimization and sustainability. “This event represents both a showcase for international and domestic airlines and a powerful platform for the promotion of commercial aviation in Europe, the Middle East and Africa”, explain the organizers of the event.
There is still work to be done!
In addition to these objectives, the biggest challenge for ABL, sponsor of the event, is to promote the Moroccan brand as a promising market with the various global players. However, it is clear that there is still a long way to go in promoting this sector. Several difficulties continue to unlock the Kingdom’s potential.
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 collaboration between “ABL” and Royale Air Maroc. (See three questions) Secondly, even the fact of settling even more importantly in the Kingdom is a difficult decision for an operator like “ABL”, which although directed by a Moroccan endowed with the love of the country, this is not enough to causing it to relocate its headquarters, which is currently in Dublin, Ireland. An obvious choice given Ireland’s highly incentivized tax system. Therefore, taxation is an important criterion for an operator.
In Ben Lmadani’s eyes, it would be good news if Morocco offered a more encouraging regime. “If there is a non-double taxation regime between Morocco and Ireland, and if Morocco lowers the level of taxation, it will certainly have a lot of potential in terms of attractiveness,” he said. Ultimately, Morocco is able to carve out a place for itself in this sector and thus become a leader, albeit at a regional level. “Yes, there is potential”, believes the head of the ABL in response to a question from “L’Opinion”, which suggests that Morocco should only draw inspiration from the “success stories” in Africa.
Mr. Ben Lmadani cites the example of Ethiopia, including Ethiopian Airlines, which has succeeded in becoming “an African leader” with a consistent high-quality fleet. In addition, the more large airlines with a large fleet and a significant flow, the more the rental sector develops as a result.
Moreover, who says to promote Morocco’s image, says strengthening its ability to attract companies with African ambitions. That is, those who want to make the Kingdom an implementation platform in the continental market. However, the market remains rigid, as the costs of leasing are still very high, which therefore affects competitiveness.