Royal Air Maroc Hopes to Rebound after Feud with Pilots

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Rabat – Following a month-long crisis over pilots’ demands for a pay raise and better working conditions, RAM’s leadership is talking about expansion and quality improvements.

In a letter published by le Desk on August 15, Royal Air Maroc (RAM) CEO Abdelhamid Addou praised the pilots’ sacrifice and dedication to RAM’s success.

Calling his meeting with the National Trade Union of Moroccan Pilots (AMPL) “historic,” the CEO said: “It is undeniable, in the history of Royal Air Maroc, that pilots have always been part of the company’s success.” Addou spoke of pilots’ sense of responsibility, presence, and care when “the company called on their devotion and engagement.”

“The past few weeks have been trying times for all of us,” the letter read, acknowledging the feud that began July 18 and paralyzed the company for almost a month.

Renewing RAM

Rather than causing further financial loss and harm to the company’s struggling reputation, Addou said the month-long crisis should be a morale boost “that will enable us to prompt our company on the path of sustained progress.”

“I wish to see Royal Air Maroc propelled in the place it deserves, to be among the [world’s] most performing airlines. Together we can achieve this goal.”

Royal Air Maroc reached an agreement with AMPL on August 14, putting a “definite end” to the tense and unfriendly atmosphere between pilots and management. During the breach, the company was reportedly losing MAD 20 million daily as a result of reimbursements and other financial costs due to cancelled and delayed flights.

The crisis reached its peak between late July and early August as the executive board and the representatives of pilots blamed each other’s “unreasonable demands” for the company’s troubles.

What started the strike?

On July 17, a day prior to the feud, Abdelhamid Addou sent AMPL a letter in which he blamed pilots for RAM’s troubles and “impending” paralysis.

Addou reprimanded pilots for not going along with the company’s expansion plan. He urged them to put aside their demands and grudges and be part of the “dream” of making RAM a better-performing and better-equipped airline.

Should pilots fixate on their salary demands and ignore the company’s long and medium-term plans, they would be responsible for the company’s “collapse,” the letter warned.

But the spirits of Addou’s August 15 and July 17 letters stand in stark contrast. And although RAM and AMPL have not yet issued detailed statements regarding the terms of their recent agreement, the company’s August 15 message seems to be making the point that RAM is set to compromise with some of the pilots’ demands but also realize its expansion plan.

All RAM’s troubles—delays and cancellations—will be resolved by next week as the company seeks to deliver on its promise of emerging stronger from the crisis by upgrading the quality of its services to regain the trust of its customers, le 360 reported yesterday.

But for all RAM’s celebratory and optimistic statements since the end of the crisis, it remains to be seen whether the promised improvements will come in time to salvage the company’s bruised reputation.