Rabat–Salé Airport

Rabat–Salé Airport
مطار الرباط سلا
Aéroport international de Rabat-Salé
Airport type Public / Military
Operator ONDA
Serves Rabat, Morocco
Location Salé, Morocco
Elevation AMSL 276 ft / 84 m
Coordinates 34°03′05″N 006°45′05″W / 34.05139°N 6.75139°W / 34.05139; -6.75139
Location of airport in Morocco
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03/21 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passengers 923,576
Source: DAFIF[1][2]

Salé Airport or Rabat–Salé Airport (IATA: RBA, ICAO: GMME) is an international airport located in the city of Salé, also serving Rabat,[1] the capital city of Morocco and of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region. It is a joint use public and military airport, also hosting the First Air Base of the Royal Moroccan Air Force.[1] The airport is located about 8 kilometres (5 mi) east-northeast of Rabat and about 90 km (56 mi) northeast of Casablanca.

During World War II, the airport was used as a military airfield by both the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces. The 319th Bombardment Group briefly flew B-26 Marauders from the airfield between 25 April - 1 June 1943. After the Americans moved out their combat units in mid-1943, the airport was used as a stopover and landing field for Air Transport Command aircraft on the Casablanca-Algiers transport route. When the war ended, control of the airfield was returned to civil authorities.

During the early years of the Cold War, the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC) used the airport as headquarters for its 5th and 316th Air Divisions. Various SAC aircraft, primarily B-47 Stratojets and KC-97 Stratofreighters used the airport until the United States Air Force withdrew from Morocco in 1957.



On 20 January 2012 the new Terminal 1 building was inaugurated, and the old terminal building (always called Terminal 2) closed. The terminal is 16,000 m² large and has a maximum capacity of 3.5 million passengers/year,[3] more than twice the capacity of the old terminal.[4]

The public area (arrivals exit and check-in) offers car rental agencies, banks (for Tax Free Shopping reimbursements only), ATM, café-bar with small kiosk, phone/fax service. The departure lounge offers a café-bar, duty-free shop, telephones, smoking lounge. Access to the airport is possible by taxi or Bus or private car; parking space is available.

Rabat–Salé is one of the six airports in Morocco where ONDA offers its special VIP service Salon Convives de Marque.[5]

The freight-terminal covers an area of 1360 m².


An area of 84.000 m² is available for passenger aircraft offering four jetways and 10 stands. The stands can receive 1 × Boeing 747, 3 × Boeing 737, 2 × Airbus A310 and 4 × Airbus A320.


The single runway lies in direction 03/21, and is 3,500 meters long and 45 meters wide. The airport has an ILS Class 1 certification and offers the following radionavigational aids: VORDMENDB[4]

Airlines and destinations

Air Arabia Maroc Agadir (begins 28 October 2018)[6]
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Royal Air Maroc Brussels, Paris–Orly, London–Heathrow, Madrid, Marseille
Seasonal: Agadir, Jeddah
Royal Air Maroc Express Casablanca
Ryanair Beauvais, Charleroi, Weeze, Girona, London–Stansted, Madrid, Marseille, Rome–Ciampino, Seville (begins 28 October 2018)
Saudia Seasonal: Jeddah
Transavia France Paris–Orly[7]
TUI fly Belgium Brussels, Paris–Orly, Charleroi

Ground transportation

To get from the airport to city center Rabat:

  • by taxi for 200 Dh (MAD) about 20 euro (21 US dollars).
  • by airport bus shuttle: Express bus shuttle from the airport to the train station Rabat city, priced at 20 dhs (MAD), about 2 euros. Scheduled departures correspond with flight arrivals/departures.

FROM the airport : 30 minutes after flight arrival. TO the airport: 3 hours before flight departure.

  • by private shuttle: Private shuttle from the airport to Rabat center, priced between 300 and 500 dhs (MAD), about 30 and 50 euros.
  • by local bus: Line No. 2, but you have to walk outside, out of the airport, 5 minutes walk to the bus station next to supermarket ATACADAO Bus ticket price is 4 dh (MAD) about 0, 40 euro.



Incidents and accidents

  • On 12 July 1961, a Czech Airlines (CSA) Ilyushin Il-18 en route from Zurich Airport to Rabat–Salé Airport diverted to Casablanca Anfa Airport (GMMC) after receiving weather info indicating ground fog at Rabat–Salé. As the conditions at GMMC were also poor the captain of the plane asked permission to land at Casablanca–Nouasseur (CMN), then a USAF base. While GMMC controllers contacted American authorities the plane crashed 13 km SSW of GMMC. All 72 on board (64 passengers, 8 crew) died. The exact reason for the crash was never discovered.[8]
  • On 12 September 1961, an Air France Sud Aviation Caravelle was en route from Paris–Orly to Rabat–Salé Airport. The weather conditions at the time were non-favourable: thick fog and low visibility. The pilot informed traffic control it intended to land using the non-directional beacon (NDB). Traffic control warned the pilot that the NDB was not in-line with the runway, but this message received no response. The aircraft crashed 9 km SSW of the airport. All 77 on board (71 passengers, 6 crew) died. The exact reason was never discovered but investigators reported errors in instrument reading as the most likely reason.[9]


  1. 1 2 3 Airport information for GMME from DAFIF (effective October 2006)
  2. Airport information for RBA at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  3. Rabat–Sale Airport visited 22 January 2012
  4. 1 2 Source ONDA website about Rabat–Sale Airport visited 21 May 2008
  5. ONDA website on the VIP service, visited 17 March 2012
  6. Air Arabia Maroc schedules additional domestic routes in W18 Routesonline. 7 June 2018.
  7. Transavia France schedules additional new routes in S18 Routesonline. 11 December 2017.
  8. Accident facts taken from Aviation-safety.net website, visited on 21 May 2008
  9. Accident facts taken from Aviation-safety.net website, visited on 21 May 2008

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