Ryanair Opens Tangier Base: A Boost for Moroccan Tourism

Ryanair officials celebrate the opening of Tangier base in Morocco.
Photo Credit: Ryanair

Ryanair, Europe’s leading low-cost airline, has expanded its presence in Morocco with the official launch of its Tangier operation – becoming the fourth base in the country.

The new base, located in Tangier, represents a strategic move that promises to reshape the region’s air travel landscape and boost tourism.

Morocco Investment and Expansion

The new Tangier base, which commenced operations in May 2024, involves a substantial investment of $200 million. This includes the stationing of two aircraft and the introduction of 25 routes, 13 of which are new.

The expansion connects Tangier with eight new European cities and five additional Moroccan destinations, significantly enhancing both international and domestic connectivity.

One of the most notable aspects of this expansion is Ryanair’s introduction of low-cost fares on 11 domestic routes within Morocco.

This move is expected to stimulate internal travel and contribute to more balanced tourism development across the country.

Bene Riobó, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Economic Impact

The economic implications of Ryanair’s expansion are substantial. The new base is projected to create over 600 local jobs, including 60 high-paying positions for pilots and cabin crew.

This direct job creation is complemented by the indirect economic benefits that increased air traffic typically brings to a region.

Ryanair’s total investment in Morocco now exceeds $1.4 billion, supporting over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs across 12 cities.

This widespread economic impact underscores the airline’s significant role in Morocco’s tourism and aviation sectors.

A Ryanair aircraft parked at Tangier Airport at sunrise.
calflier001, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tangier Airport: Gateway to Northern Morocco

Located at Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport, Ryanair’s new base will see significant growth. As Morocco’s fifth busiest airport, it served over 1.1 million passengers in 2019, before the pandemic disrupted air travel globally.

The airport’s geographic location, just 12 kilometers from the city center, makes it an ideal gateway for tourists exploring northern Morocco.

The airport has undergone several modernization projects in recent years, including terminal expansions and runway improvements.

These upgrades have prepared it for increased traffic and larger aircraft, aligning perfectly with Ryanair’s expansion plans.

With Ryanair’s new base, Tangier airport is expected to see a 70% increase in capacity for Summer 2024.

This growth will likely necessitate further infrastructure developments and could potentially elevate the airport’s status within Morocco’s aviation network.

A Skytanking Aviation Services tug pushes back a Ryanair jet.
Photo Credit: Ryanair

Strategic Importance for Ryanair and Morocco

For Ryanair, the Tangier base represents more than just an expansion of routes. It’s a strategic positioning in a rapidly growing market.

Morocco has been investing heavily in its tourism sector, aiming to attract 26 million tourists annually by 2030.

Ryanair’s increased presence aligns with this national objective, potentially accelerating the achievement of this ambitious goal.

From Morocco’s perspective, Ryanair’s expansion enhances the country’s connectivity with Europe, its primary source market for tourists.

The increase in low-cost flights could make Morocco more accessible to budget-conscious travelers, potentially opening up new demographics of visitors.

The domestic routes are equally significant. By offering affordable inter-city flights, Ryanair could help distribute tourist traffic more evenly across Morocco. This would benefit lesser-known destinations and contributing to more balanced regional development.

A parked Ryanair aircraft.
Photo Credit: Piotr Mitelski/Ryanair

Challenges and Opportunities

While the expansion brings numerous benefits, it also presents challenges. The increased air traffic will require careful management to ensure sustainability and minimize environmental impact.

Additionally, the surge in visitors could put pressure on local infrastructure and services, particularly in smaller cities newly connected by Ryanair’s routes.

However, these challenges also present opportunities. The need for improved infrastructure could drive further investment and development.

The influx of visitors to new areas could stimulate local economies and encourage the growth of tourism-related businesses.

Conclusion

Ryanair’s new base in Tangier marks a significant milestone in Morocco’s aviation and tourism sectors.

It represents a vote of confidence in the country’s economic potential and its attractiveness as a destination.

As this expansion unfolds, it will be interesting to observe its impact on tourism patterns, economic development, and Morocco’s position in the global travel market.

With strategic management and continued investment, this development could play a key role in shaping Morocco’s tourism landscape for years to come.


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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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