Rabat – News of Bombardier’s imminent withdrawal from Morocco’s aerospace sector sparked wild speculations about the devastating impacts of the move for Morocco’s aerospace industry.
In recent comments to aviation website Ain Online, however, multiple sources indicated that the Canadian giant is committed to finding a safe replacement before it completely departs.
“Although a sale to a third party appears inevitable, the intention seems to be that Morocco and Belfast will remain key link” in the company’s supply chain, the newspaper reported.
A Casablanca-based bombardier spokesperson reaffirmed the continued relevance of the Casablanca plant to the company’s long-term plans. She said that the Morocco-based Bombardier site will remain an essential part of the aviation giant’s prospective ventures.
“The Morocco site plays, and will continue to play, an important role in Bombardier’s supply chain. It is a world-class aero structures facility with an extremely competitive cost,” she said.
“We will maintain and grow our strategic presence in Morocco to enhance our position and develop the Moroccan aerospace ecosystem.”
Months after news emerge of the company’s expected departure, the Casablanca site is still open and functioning as before, according to the spokesperson.
Ain Online noted that current operations include work on “wing components for Bombardier’s CRJ regional aircraft, such as flaps, slats, ailerons, and winglets, as well as the complete engine nacelle; fuselage sections for the Learjet 70/75, floors for CRJs and Globals, Challenger 650 emergency doors and some subassemblies for different programs, in addition to the MRO activities.”
More still, the Bombardier spokesperson reiterated the multinational’s commitment to the Belfast and Casablanca sites because, she explained, they have been greatly beneficial for the company.
She promised that even after it leaves the sites, Bombardier will put its large pool of third contacts to good use to secure a less devastating aftermath for employees and the Moroccan aerospace ecosystem as a whole. The plan is to avoid complete extinction after the company departs.
“Following the announcement of Bombardier to divest its aerostructures activity in Belfast and Morocco, I continue to be confident in the future of the site in Casablanca,” said Stephen Orr, a senior manager on the company’s Moroccan site.
The spokesperson agreed. She said, “With Bombardier and third-party customer’s contracts, we are sure that both sites have a long and bright future.”
According to Orr, the upbeat comments have a lot to do with the impressive-looking prospects of the Moroccan aviation ecosystem.
Ali Seddiki, the chief of the aerospace department at the Moroccan Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade, and Digital Economy, echoed the same faith in the promising prospects of Morocco’s aerospatial ecosystem.
“Morocco…is ranked number five among the most attractive countries for suppliers [worldwide] and number one in Africa,” he explained.
Another factor of the sustained optimism for the immediate aftermath of Bombardier’s withdrawal from Morocco is the perceived profound coloration mechanism between Boeing, a well-established global aviation giant, and Morocco’s national carrier, Royal air Maroc (RAM).
While it is still unclear whether Boeing is indeed one of the potential buyers of the concerned plant once Bombardier complete retreats, there appears to be a robust consensus in circles close to the sensitive dossier that Bombardier’s departure will not be as devastating as initially thought at the announcement of the news nearly two months ago.
Caroline Tourrier, Boeing’s communications chief for France and North Africa, revealed the American giant has been engaged in talks with Morocco to deepen its presence in the country’s ecosystem.
“We are also engaged in other activities to share information about Morocco’s aerospace industry and its talented workforce, as well as government investments and incentives for Boeing suppliers to consider operations in Morocco,” Tourrier said.
These latest clarifications buttress the position of the Moroccan government, which, amid wild speculations of disastrous impacts after Bombardier announced its planned departure, steadily maintained that the news coverage of the dossier was disproportionally alarming.
In a series of declarations after Bombardier’s initial announcement, the Moroccan government reassured the Canadian company’s Moroccan site’s employees, arguing that it is “not completely leaving.”
Saad Eddine El Othmani, the Morocco’s Head of Government, later said that Bombardier agreed with Moroccan authorities that it would only depart after it has ensured a safe and much less devastating aftermath.