Salé Airport or Rabat-Salé Airport (IATA: RBA, ICAO: GMME) is an airport serving Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, and also the capital of the Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer region. It is a joint use public and military airport, also known as the First Royal Air Force Base. The airport is located about 8 kilometres (5 mi) east-northeast of Rabat and about90 km (56 mi) northeast of Casablanca.
In 2008 the airport handled over 333,000 passengers
During World War II, the airport was used as a military airfield by the United States Army Air Forces Twelfth Air Force during the North African campaign. The 319th Bombardment Group flew B-26 Marauders from the airfield between 25 Apr - 1 Jun 1943.
After the Americans moved out their active 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 Strategic Air Command used the airport as its headquarters for its 5th and 316th Air Divisions. Various SAC aircraft, primarily B-47 Stratojets and KC-97 Stratotankers used the airport until the United States Air Force withdrew from Morocco in 1957.
Passenger terminal and facilities
Access to the airport only possible by taxi or private car; free parking space available.
The following airlines have a ticket-office/representation in the terminal:
The terminal is 3.900 m2 large and has a maximum capacity of 700.000 passengers/year.
The freight-terminal covers an area of 1360 m2.
Parking/ramp for aircraft
An area of 84.000 m2 is available for passenger aircraft offering 10 stands. The stands can receive 1 x Boeing 747, 3 x Boeing 737, 2 x Airbus A310 and 4 x Airbus A320
The single runway lies in direction 04/22, is 3500 meter long and 45 meter wide.
The airport has an ILS Class 1 certification and offers the following radionavigational aids: VOR – DME – NDB
Airlines and destinations
On July 12, 1961, a Czech Airlines (CSA) Ilyushin Il-18 en route from Zürich-Kloten 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 weren't good either 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 kn. SSW of GMMC. All 72 on board (64 passengers, 8 crew) died. The exact reason of crash never discovered.
On September 12, 1961, an Air France Sud Aviation Caravelle 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. Traffic control warned the pilot that the NDR 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.
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The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2010.
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