top of page

Once upon a time there was Agadir Inezgane-Ben Sergao Airport, the predecessor of Al Massira Airport


Considered the safest in Africa, the airport of Agadir named Al Massira was opened on December 20, 1991. But even before that date, planes landed in Gane, near the new Royal Palace (our Photo). This airport was initially a French base before being handed over to the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) in March 1961, five years after independence. The FAR had actually lost their garrison and barracks during the February 29, 1960 earthquake.

A century ago, in the 1920s, so under the protectorate, the French who introduced aviation to Morocco built an airstrip and some rare buildings between the villages of Ben Sergao to the west and Inezgane to the east. Aéropostale in Tarfaya, which was then called Cap Juby. He landed his plane in Agadir (our photo: the aviator and his “Little Prince” in the modest Tarfaya Museum dedicated to them).

The establishment of a naval airfield dates back to 1934 and the end of the tribal wars against the central power Mahzen and France. During World War II, the Americans established their sector there and patrolled with the French in search of Nazi submarines cruising between Morocco and the Canary Islands. As our picture shows, this 1944 Ventura wore the Cross of Lorraine, symbol of Free France by General de Gaulle.

After the war, Agadir Airport also became a school base. The mild climate allows for faster training of war pilots as more missions take place.


Air Atlas (our photo), predecessor of Royal Air Maroc, operates a few weekly flights between Agadir and Casablanca, but via Marrakech.

During the terrific earthquake of 1960, it was from this base that the radio message warned the kingdom and the world of the catastrophe . The airport is the first to provide disaster relief and has all the equipment. He cares for the survivors, provides them with food and shelters them. The Gadiris are grateful to him. The airport can also accommodate workers from all over the world. Herea Swissair plane.

Since the opening of Club Méditerranée in 1965, charter flights began to land and carry tourists. Our photo shows a Lockheed TriStar from the German company LTU.


The site's owners, the Royal Armed Forces, lease the terminal to the National Airports Office (ONDA).

On August 3, 1975 a catastrophe happened. It touches an Alia Royal Jordanian Airlines Boeing 707 chartered by Royal Air Maroc (our photo Michael Bernhard, taken the day before at Frankfurt Airport). The plane, which took off from Paris Le Bourget, crashed in the Atlas off Amskroud, about 70 km from Inezgane Airport. The intense heat led to poor visibility on the approach. The record is terrible. The 188 people on board were all killed: 181 Moroccan workers and their families and the seven crew members. It is the deadliest air accident in Morocco.

Be that as it may, life goes on. The airport is still just a small hangar inherited from the protectorate. Travelers and their companions before departure cannot all enter the country. The waiting room is open to the sky. Those boarding wave to those staying behind the barrier seen on the right of our photo. The jet burst lifts the girls' skirts, the distance between the planes and the public is so short!

Due to the development of tourism, the airport premises are becoming too small (our photo). The security conditions are also not optimal given the expansion of the surrounding cities such as Ben Sergao and Dcheira.


As a result, the state began construction of Al Massira Airport in the late 1980s.

Immediately after it opened in 1991, the Royal Armed Forces took over that of Inezgane, which is no longer open to the public.


Since the year 2000, the royal plane has landed there, as the runway is right next to the new palace. A new, more stable concrete tower is being built (our photo). The Royal Gendarmerie has a new building, the upper part of which is blue.

Each spring, the military airport hosts the African Lion, a Joint military exercise bringing together American and Moroccan forces. Our picture: the arrival of a C130 Hercules at sunset.


Will Inezgane Military Airport stay in its current location for long or will it move?


For example, it could be moved to Tifnit, where there is a Moroccan barracks for target practice, or even to Tan-Tan, where the maneuvers of the African lion take place.


Since the airport is now in the greater Agadir area (our Bing image), a move would free up a lot of land to build housing and reduce the distances to be travelled.

Called "Abiassioune" by the Gadiris, Inezgane Airport and its old tower (our photo) remain a pleasant memory in the eyes of the elders. We knew then that such a device had landed from such a country as we saw it descend from the beach towards the Amadil Hotel. The starts were loud. Airplanes made the dishes shake!


The old airport also symbolizes what many locals consider to be the golden age of tourism and when aviation thrived without the anonymity and constraints of today.


35 views

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page