At the request of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the African Development Bank is preparing to offer an additional loan of 34.20 million euros for the Rabat airport extension and modernization project -Sale. This new financing, accompanied by the State guarantee, will make it possible to take charge of part of the work initially at the expense of the National Airports Office, whose financial solidity has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, with a view to to complete all the works and guarantee the proper execution of the project.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance has requested the African Development Bank (AfDB) for additional financing for the Rabat-Salé airport extension and modernization project. The Board of Directors of the AfDB Group is thus preparing to complete an additional loan of 34.20 million euros to the National Airports Office (ONDA), accompanied by the State guarantee, in favor of This project whose total cost has been revised upwards to 176 million euros, against an initial estimate of 171 million. This strategic project is part of the development of the transport sector, in particular the continuation of the upgrading and modernization of infrastructures and services with a view to increasing the logistics competitiveness of the national economy. It aims, in particular, to contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of Rabat Salé airport, to meet the needs of passenger and freight traffic by 2035, but also the contribution to the tourist and economic development of the country and the region.
It should also be noted that passenger traffic at Rabat-Salé airport will experience an average annual growth of 6% and will reach, by 2035, traffic of 3 million passengers and 5,500 tonnes of freight. Knowing that the current capacity of this airport is only 1.5 million passengers per year, it is becoming necessary to adapt its infrastructures and equipment to enable it to meet the forecast demand for traffic and provide quality service in accordance with international standards. According to the loan file, under the effect of the impact of the Covid-19 health crisis, ONDA’s level of activity has deteriorated drastically since March 2020. Thus, for the year 2020, the number of passengers fell by more than 70%, the number of movements by 65%, air freight by 36% and en-route traffic by 59%. ONDA’s financial situation has also deteriorated over the past two years. Indeed, specifies the loan document, following the decline in activity, ONDA’s turnover fell by 63% in 2020. The operating result fell from 1.3 billion DH to -1.4 billion.
The net result, for its part, deteriorated from 566 million DH to -1.9 billion. ONDA is thus encountering difficulties in covering the full amount of its contribution to the initial project. The impacts of the Covid-19 epidemic have also led, among other things, to increased lead times for the site, higher prices for all raw materials, additional costs induced by logistical problems and those related to losses. of labor productivity. In addition, the pandemic caused a two-year extension of the project deadline. Also, discounters for physical and financial contingencies could not cover the additional costs noted due to Covid-19. The total cost of the project has therefore been revised upwards. The additional financing requested from the ADB will make it possible to take charge of part of the work initially charged to ONDA in order to accomplish all the activities carried out and guarantee the proper execution of the project.
Taking into account this additional loan of 34.20 million euros, the ADB’s contribution to the financing of the project amounts to 109.20 million euros, or 62.05% of the total cost of the project. Recall that the AfDB had already granted in 2018 a loan of 75 million euros for the extension and modernization of the international airport of Rabat-Salé. ONDA is financing 66.80 million euros from its own funds, or 37.95% of the cost of the project. At the end of September 2021, the physical implementation rate of the project is posted at 31% and the cumulative amount of AfDB disbursements stands at 16.81 million euros, representing 22.4% of the loan. The project concerns the construction of the new terminal and its equipment, the expansion of the aircraft parking area, the development of road access and vehicle parking. Added to this is the supply and installation of safety and security equipment.
ONDA intends to deconcentrate the Transport-Freight offer
According to the AfDB, the transport and logistics sector in Morocco has seen its economic and social contribution in constant progress in recent years. It currently represents nearly 5% of overall GDP and 9% of the added value of the tertiary sector. It also contributes 15% of State revenue and has generated approximately 100,000 direct jobs. Air freight nevertheless remains insufficiently developed in Morocco and highly concentrated at Casablanca airport.
The lack of competitiveness of the supply means that air freight represents only 5% of exports. Casablanca airport handled 90,081 tonnes of freight in 2019 (base year before the crisis), i.e. 94% of the national total and recorded growth of 12% per year during the 2014-2019 period. ONDA therefore intends to deconcentrate the transport supply, including freight, and reach 182,000 tonnes by 2035, according to the indications of the Air Freight Master Plan. The implementation of this master plan will also benefit the development of the tourism industry whose growth in demand for air services in Rabat was driven by the signing of the open sky agreement in 2006 with the EU. Passenger traffic at Rabat-Salé airport has thus increased by 14% over the last ten years and by 21.3% over the last five.