According to a supplementary paper attached to the draft budget law, which was submitted to parliament on 14 October, Royal Air Maroc will be sold to raise money for Morocco’s budget deficit, which is expected to double in 2008.

The budget deficit is expected to reach 5.5 per cent of gross domestic product in 2008, up from 2.7 per cent in 2007, due to increased spending on subsidies for food and fuel.

Royal Air Maroc’s two subsidiaries, low-cost airline Atlas Blue and leisure firm Atlas Hospitality Morocco, will also be privatised.

The government has not set a deadline for the completion of Royal Air Maroc’s privatisation.

In the late 1990s, the government sold its then monopoly telecoms operator Maroc Telecom to French media conglomerate Vivendi.