RABAT, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Moroccan aerospace suppliers are expected to exceed pre-pandemic sales this year because of rising demand and an increase in the manufacture of high-tech parts, a sector lobbyist said on Friday.

In the first seven months of the year, Morocco’s 140 aerospace suppliers sold 12.1 billion dirhams ($1.1 billion), a 58% increase on the same period last year and a 31% increase on the same period of 2019, foreign exchange data show.

In 2020 sales fell to just 12.4 billion dirhams for the whole year, prompting many manufacturers to lay off workers.

“The aerospace ecosystem is now experiencing a robust recovery and is on track to exceed 2019 levels,” Karim Cheikh, head of the Moroccan aerospace suppliers association (GIMAS), told Reuters.

He said Morocco’s attractiveness to foreign investors stems from available trained workforce and engineers, adding that some countries are now hiring Moroccan aerospace workers.

Cheikh was speaking on the sidelines of an event by Ratier Figeac Maroc, a subsidiary of Collins Aerospace, part of Raytheon Technologies.

During the event, Collins Aerospace said its Casablanca plant had expanded operations by adding a unit offering maintenance of Airbus cockpit components, which it makes on site.

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