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Pineau promises a vintage year

Posted 7 December 2018 · Add Comment

The sixth running of Morocco’s Marrakech Air Show takes place from October 24-27 at the country’s Base Ecole des Forces Royales Air – the prestigious Royal Air School. The school’s director, Gaël Pineau, tells Vincent Chappard about what’s planned.

Morocco, thanks to its strategic position and benefiting from a marked rise in the quality of its industrial services, is now positioning itself as a platform for the sector’s growth throughout the continent.
The show also aims to support the significant growth of the national aeronautical industry marked, particularly in the last decade, by the presence of some of the world’s leading aerospace companies.
More than 300 exhibitors from around 80 countries are expected to attend, while in excess of 50,000 visitors (including 6,000 directly involved in the aerospace industry) and at least 100 international civil and military delegations will also be there.
The static display is expected to feature up to 70 aircraft and there will be a daily flying display.
Held with the support and patronage of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, and under the auspices of the country’s Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy, the show will also enjoy support from the National Defense Administration and the Moroccan Royal Air Force.
Official partners include Morocco’s National Airports Authority (ONDA) and GIMAS, the umbrella body that represents the interests of the country’s growing aerospace industry.
Pineau, who is also director of the air show, said: “The event aims to be a reference point for the growth of all air transport activities in Africa and special attention will be given to promoting the industrial capabilities of exhibitors, while consolidating the African focus of the burgeoning aerospace industries based in the Kingdom of Morocco.”
For the first time, a ‘fringe symposium’ on security and defence has been organised for continental Africa-based air force chiefs of staff. This has been supported by the US Air Force in Europe and Africa, with additional backing from the Royal Air Force of Morocco. More than 100 top military air force officials from some 40 African countries are expected to attend.
“We have changed the dates of the show so that we can synchronise these two events, thus creating continuity and business opportunities for exhibitors and visitors,” explained Yassine Hlioua, the air show’s senior project manager.
There will be more international participants and exhibitors, including newcomers Russia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.
It is hoped that Russia’s Rosoboronexport will exhibit the Superjet 100, while both the US and Canada will have a major presence. The People’s Republic of China will also be exhibiting through the CATIC organisation.
Despite its current financial woes, it is hoped that the Turkish aerospace industries will arrive in force. One of the undoubted stars of the flying display is expected to be the TAI/AgustaWestland T129 ATAK military attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter, developed by TAI. This aircraft is already attracting attention from air forces in Morocco and throughout Africa.
“As well as highlighting the Morocco-based companies’ know-how, the show will create the opportunity to promote organisations from elsewhere in Africa, where there is considerable development of services associated with airports, airlines and aircraft,” said Pineau.
One feature is expected to be the growing importance of 3D printing and additive manufacturing. French company, Thales, which has recently opened its first plant in Morocco, is planning to create a ‘centre of excellence’ for this technology in the country.
Moroccan exhibitors will also be highlighting Boeing’s newest ecosystem project and, following the recent signing of a partnership agreement in Tangiers, the number of subcontracting aerospace manufacturers in Morocco is expected to double.
According to Karim Cheikh, the new president of GIMAS, this year has seen sector growth of around 20%.
He said: "Our ecosystem has also been enriched by the establishment of key players who are setting up in sectors driven by the technology of tomorrow’s aircraft, including composites, embedded electronics and MRO.”
 

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