Ryanair is the largest Europe-Morocco airline with a third of seats; Royal Air Maroc has fallen to just 18%

FR RAK-RMU

The North African countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt have about 21.6 million departing seats from Europe in S24, based on Cirium schedules information. They are so instrumental that they account for three-quarters of Europe-Africa capacity. Of course, for most of Africa, most people fly via somewhere en route.

Due to EU open skies and a forward-looking attitude to route and tourism development, which has spurred huge (U)LCC development, Morocco is very much the most served country. It has almost nine million European seats this summer – almost a third of the total to Africa. Capacity has risen almost a fifth over S23, the previous record summer.

Europe-Morocco capacity S14-S24

Ryanair is the number-one operator

Analysing Cirium data shows that more than 35 airlines operate between Europe and Morocco. They include Iceland’s PLAY, whose first Keflavik-Marrakech flight is on 17 October, towards the end of S24. It adds to BA EuroFlyer, the lower-cost BA unit, which replaced its parent on London LGW-Marrakech last year and inaugurated LGW-Agadir on 31 March 2024 (3-weekly).

ULCC Ryanair is firmly the leading operator, with its position helped by 25% year-on-year growth. The contrast with most other carriers, except easyJet (+75%), is stark. Ryanair has almost three million departing seats and a third of the entire Europe-Morocco non-stop market. It is twice the size of Royal Air Maroc.

Ryanair now serves 12 airports in the North African nation, but not Casablanca, and has bases at Marrakech, Fez, Agadir and Tangier. However, ‘only’ 11 have European flights. The latest addition to its Moroccan airport network is Beni Mella, whose first flight with the ULCC is on 1 June from Milan BGY, followed by Girona the next day. The sole exception is Errachidia, near the Algerian border, which came online on 31 March with flights from Marrakech. It was one of Ryanair’s first intra-African routes.

Athens International Airport

Top 10 Europe-Morocco airlines S24

Royal Air Maroc’s European share has fallen by half

The following figure shows how the top five airlines, based on S24, have seen their market shares change since S14. Other than during the pandemic, the five operators have never been more dominant. They have 80% of the market, mainly because of Ryanair’s strong increase.

A decade ago, Royal Air Maroc was very much number one, as would be expected. It had 35% of available seats, about twice that of Ryanair. Comparing S24 with S14 shows that Morocco’s flag carrier’s European capacity has declined by 1.4% against 94% growth for the market as a whole. Consequently, Royal Air Maroc’s capacity share has fallen to just 18%.

Royal Air Maroc’s decline is from cutting non-Casablanca European routes, which is now the area of (U)LCCs, as it focuses on its stronghold. Indeed, its capacity from Casablanca has risen by a quarter since S14. Still nowhere near the same level as the overall market, but at least it is positive. It has been helped by the return of Manchester and Naples to its network in S24.

Europe-Morocco airline market share S14-S24

London Southend Airport