Rabat - After a decade of work and a series of delays and un-kept promises, Mohammed V Airport’s Terminal 1 is still not open.
Rabat – After a decade of work and a series of delays and un-kept promises, Mohammed V Airport’s Terminal 1 is still not open.
The Terminal 1 project, which was undertaken nearly a decade ago to expand the Casablanca-based airport’s reception capacity, was reportedly completed in March and expected to open in July.
In early June, airport authorities, together with Royal Air Maroc (RAM) management, issued a statement saying the terminal was undergoing its final trial period and would be operational by July.
“Finally ready to welcome [its first] passengers, Terminal 1 should start operating by late June or early July,” a source at the Ministry of Tourism and Transportation said at the time. The source then apologized for delays and previous unfulfilled promises which he said were “due to a long period of tests which started in early March.”
Despite promises that the facility would open this summer to meet Casablanca’s status as a rising international hub for air travel, Terminal 1 is still not operational and travelers continue to face Mohammed V Airport’s traditional issues—overcrowding, long hours for check-in, and long lines at customs.
Speaking to Moroccan outlet Medias 24 on Friday, August 3, a source from Royal Air Maroc (RAM) described the situation as “complicated.”
He mentioned “overcrowding due to increasing international arrivals this summer and ongoing troubles at RAM” among the many factors making a number of customers’ experiences at Mohammed V “uncomfortable.” In RAM’s defense, however, the source added that “everything is ready” at Terminal 1, but “RAM has still not received the green light from ONDA, the National Office of Airports.”
A source from ONDA blamed the delay on the current situation at the airport, saying that the reasons for the delay are “more complicated than it would seem” and that opening the facility in this busy period of summer would have created further complications at the airport. He said it would be more convenient to the facility in a less busy period, to avoid “technical concerns” that may result from having to close some parts of the airport.
“After a series of delays, it is becoming gradually obvious that that the terminal will open in September. The only explanation for this is that authorities are trying to avoid creating further technical problems in this peak period.”
When challenged about the discomfort and the lack of trust caused by delays and unfulfilled promises, another ONDA official said that customers and users have waited for a long time and can be now be patient enough fore few more months as the project is being held back by minor technical issues.
“Months-long delays are nothing compared to the ten years it took to complete [building] the facility,” he said.
With 84 check-in counters and 17 boarding gates, authorities expect that Terminal 1 will double Casablanca’s airport reception capacity and meet the demands of customers by making Mohamed V “a modernized airport equipped with state-of-the-art technology.”