Carriers in the Maghreb continue to add freighters

Boeing is converting one of Royal Air Maroc’s passenger 767-300s like the one pictured into freighter configuration. converting

Earlier this year, on 21 June, Boeing and Casablanca-headquartered Royal Air Maroc (RAM) announced an order to convert a passenger 767-300 from the Moroccan carrier’s fleet, to freighter configuration. According to multiple flight and fleet-tracking databases, it appears that one of Royal Air Maroc’s 767-300s (30008) has been taken out of scheduled passenger service, and may have already been inducted for conversion by Boeing at ST Aero’s Paya Lebar facility (QPG).      

Upon redelivery, which, according to various reports, is expected as early as February 2018, RAM Cargo will triple its annual main-deck cargo capacity to 77,000 tonnes, (up from its current 25,600 tonnes). Once operational, the widebody freighter will enable Royal Air Maroc’s cargo division to broaden the scope of its freight products, and offer outsize and specialty cargo transport. It is yet another sign that the North African air cargo market is heating up, as new and incumbent carriers move to add capacity (see Cargo’s increasing allure in the Maghreb).

The 767-300BCF will operate alongside RAM Cargo’s existing 737-300BDSF (leased from GECAS), which the carrier has operated since August 2009. Amine El Farissi, director of RAM Cargo said the carrier has long had a need for widebody freighter capacity, but has had “trouble finding aircraft on the market; that’s why we chose to convert our own passenger aircraft.” Like the 737-300BDSF, the 767-300BCF will also feed the bellies of Royal Air Maroc’s cargo-friendly 787-8s, of which, the carrier currently operates five.

Looking ahead, El Farissi said the division would continue to reevelaute both its widebody and narrowbody freighter strategies.  Last week, El Farissi told Cargoforwarder Global that two more 767-300 conversions will likely follow within the next five years. As for narrowbody freighters, no decisions have been undertaken, but RAM Cargo could opt for 737-400F or 737-800Fs to either complement or replace its existing 737-300F.

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