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Royal Air Maroc Expects First 787 before end of this year

Par /, le 12 Avril 2011

Royal Air Maroc expects to receive the first of its delayed 787 aircraft from Boeing before the end of the year, Moroccan's industry minister Ahmed Chami said Monday. The state-controlled Moroccan flag carrier is the European launch customer for the jet, having agreed a firm order for four in 2005 that were slated to arrive by the end of 2008 before production and design issues pushed back the aircraft's introduction.

Ahmed Chami said in an interview in Chicago that the airline expected its first 787 to arrive by year-end. He plans to visit Boeing in Seattle this week, and aerospace is one of a number of industry "clusters" where Morocco plans to expand, leveraging its proximity to Europe and low labor costs.

Boeing has said it plans to deliver as many as 20 787s this year, with the first for All Nippon Airways (ANA), arriving in the third quarter. Media reports had suggested all of the 2011 deliveries would be to Asia-based carriers, including Japan Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Air India, as well as ANA.

The manufacturer has already painted Royal Air Maroc's first 787--the third to move down the production line and the first with engines from General Electric but declined to comment on when the Moroccan airline would receive its first planes.
"With the exception of the first delivery to ANA, we are not identifying the order (or dates) in which customers will receive their 787s," the company said in a statement. "We'll deliver airplanes when they're ready, which will not always be in the order that they went down the production line."

Casablanca-based Royal Air Maroc has been developing the city as a gateway to Africa and operates 41 Boeing 737s, the largest fleet of the type in the region.