Marrakech Airshow 2014

Tuesday 6th May 2014 at 05:20

Dassault Mirage F1EM-VI
Morocco Air Force Dassault Mirage F1EM-VI

The fourth Marrakech Airshow was held at the Menara airbase from 23 to 26 April 2014 and this year the event co-located with the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) which was featuring its first AfBAA Expo.  This exhibition pavilion ran in conjunction with the Marrakech Airshow hosting the leading aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturers alongside a significant number of Business Aviation services.

Despite unseasonal torrential rain and storms in the build-up to the Airshow, the days of the Airshow provided perfect flying weather.

A flying highlight was the aerobatic demonstration team of the Spanish Air Force, Patrulla Aguila, based at San Javier airbase in the Murcia region of Spain.  Flying seven Casa C-101 Aviojets, the team was in spectacular form. 

Royal Morocco Air Force

Morocco’s air force, the Forces Royales Air (FRA), was displaying its Bombardier CL415, also known as the Superscooper in the United States, which is a world-renowned fire fighter that can scoop and drop more than 6000 litres in a single pass. The Moroccan air force display team the 'Marche Verte' also performed in the daily air display in their aerobatic Mudry CAP-10 aircraft.

Marche Verte Display Team
Marche Verte Display Team

Static Display

On the static display, business jets included Embraer‘s Legacy 500, which made its African debut and is scheduled to enter into service in the first half of this year; Beechcraft’s newest generation King Airs; and Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 7X, which was introduced in 2007 and is the fastest selling Falcon ever, having recently celebrated the rollout of the 250th 7X.  Thanks to strong development of the African economy and fast growth in industries such as mining, oil and gas, agriculture and construction, manufacturers see great potential in Africa for long term growth in business aviation.

 

One of four Alenia Aermacchi Spartan C-27J’s in service with the Royal Morocco Air Force was at the Airshow, and which is the only aircraft capable of directly transporting troops and equipment over the harsh Moroccan operational scenario.

US Air Force

The US Air Force were exhibiting a C130J and a KC135, which were popular with the visitors on the Public day of the Airshow.  Another popular exhibit was Beechcraft’s AT-6; Beechcraft offers the AT-6 to nations in need of light attack air support for the most demanding scenarios.  Textron closed its 1.4 billion USD acquistion of Beechcraft in March 2014, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation.

With more than 200 helicopters on order for African government and commercial customers, AgustaWestland was at the Airshow celebrating a significant and growing presence in Africa.  On the static park, the Anglo-Italian manufacturer was displaying an Italian Air Force AW 159M intermediate twin helicopter and an AW109 Power light twin.

French manufacturer LH Aviation, creator of the LH-10 Ellipse, had two aircraft on display.  LH Aviation has launched a subsidiary in Morocco called LH Aviation Moroc, to build a factory capable of producing up to 80 of the multi-role LH-10M light aircraft.  The LH-10M will be the first aircraft built entirely in Morocco. 

Across the runway from the Marrakech Airshow, towering cranes were working on new terminal buildings to meet the growing demand for Morocco’s biggest tourist destination.   Morocco’s Office National Des Aeroports (ONDA) is expecting to see its traffic double at all of its airports by 2020.

Report by Simon Willson

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