A Nasa image of the Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport.
Mohammed V Airport serves as the main hub for Royal Air Maroc's Boeing 737-800. Image courtesy of Boeing.
The Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport will have four passenger terminals upon completion of expansion. Image courtesy of Joris-Jan.


Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport is located in the province of Nouaceur, about 30km south-east of Casablanca. It is currently the fourth busiest airport in Africa and the busiest airport serving Morocco. The airport handled 7,290,314 passengers in 2011, serving 40 airlines.

It is one of six airports owned by ONDA (National Airports Authority) and is currently undergoing an expansion phase, which started in 2009. The expansion project is slated for completion in 2013.

The current project forms part of the third airport project of Morocco, which further falls under the MAD 4.68bn ($553m) investment programme of ONDA for the 2008-2012 period. The project is being funded by the African Development Bank Group.

History of the Moroccan international airport

The airport was originally named as Berrechid Airfield and was constructed in 1943 by the United States. It was handed over to the civil government in 1945, after the Second World War. The airfield was reopened in the 1950s in the name of as Nouasseur Air Base, to serve the United States during the cold war. It was handed over to Morocco after the kingdom gained independence in 1956. The airport is named after King Mohammed V of Morocco.

IATA: CMN terminal and runway details

The airport has three terminals, with Terminal 1 covering a surface area of 40,000m², Terminal 2 covering a surface area of 66,000m² and Terminal 3 covering a surface area of 4,000m². It has two asphalt-surfaced runways, each measuring 3,720m in length and 45m in width. The two runways have provision to accommodate Boeing 747.

Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport expansion

“It is one of six airports owned by ONDA (National Airports Authority) and is currently undergoing an expansion phase.”

The expansion project at Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport comprises of rehabilitating Terminal 1, reshaping the aprons, extending Terminal 2, aeronautical infrastructure and cargo platform and construction of a third take-off strip and Terminal 4.

The expansion will also include the construction of a new freight station, with a capacity for 150,000t per year. The new freight station will have an area of 30,000m² out of which 16,000m² will be covered. The project will upgrade the air traffic control and security services at the airport, create a new arriving passengers area, develop the luggage sorting area and create new office spaces.

The partition walls of the existing departure lounges will be removed to create a single departure lounge with access gates to aircraft. A new transit area and other facilities, such as shopping malls, booking area, lounge areas and cafeterias, will be constructed.

On completion of the expansion, the airport terminals will be equipped with 28 automatic gates, seven telescopic ramps, 44 booking counters, 900m of mechanical luggage loaders, five movable sidewalks, ten escalators, 13 elevators and service elevators, 18 hand luggage X-Ray detectors, 13 baggage hold detectors, 25 automatic doors, 25 magnetometers, 33 police screens, 60 fixed colour cameras, 21 domes, 11 biometric access controls and 23 proximity access controls.

The aircraft parking area will be expanded to 250,000m².

Baggage handling and security systems

The automatic baggage handling system (BHS) at the airport will comprise of 72 check-in conveyors, with a total conveyor belt length of about 640m. It will be equipped with four automatic screening machines for Levels 1 and 2, and two automatic machines for Level 3 and 4 screening.

“The expansion will also include the construction of a new freight station, with a capacity for 150,000t per year.”

The entire system will comprise of five automatic baggage label readers, 52 sorting chutes and two automatic sorting carousels with pushers. The system is expected to handle 4,800 bags per hour.

The manual sorting system will utilise 64 existing check-in conveyors measuring about 340m long. Two automatic level 1 and 2 screening machines and one level 3 and 4 automatic screening machines will be installed.

Air traffic surveillance services around Mohammed V International Airport are provided from the Casablanca radar station, which comprises of both a primary radar and an S Mode secondary radar. The system comprises of two simulators.

Contractors involved with the Moroccan airport

The airport makes use of an air traffic services message handling system (AMHS) provided by COMSOFT. Ground services at the airport are handled by Swissport. The contract to design and install the BHS at the airport was awarded to Logan Telefax in April 2011. The contract is worth €12.6m ($18.6m). Ineco will provide technical assistance in the development and engineering phase of the airport’s terminal. Frequentis supplied its smartAIM aeronautical information management system for the airport.

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