Marrakech Menara (GMMX)
Marrakech Menara Airport is located in the city of Marrakech, Morocco, approximately 6 km from the city center. With over 6 million passengers passing through the airport in 2019, it is one of the busiest airports in Morocco and the second busiest in the country after Casablanca's Mohammed V International Airport.
Airspace Boundaries and Classes
|CTR Marrakech||GMMX_TWR||D||SFC - 2 200 ft|
|TMA Marrakech||GMMX_APP||D||SFC - 2 200 ft
2 200 ft - FL 175
|SFC - FL 175
FL 175 - FL 460
FL 460 - UNL
|GMMX_APP||Menara Approche / Menara Approach||119.900 MHz|
|GMMX_TWR||Menara Tour / Menara Tower||118.500 MHz|
|GMMX_GND||Menara Sol / Menara Ground||130.600 MHz|
|GMMX_ATIS||Menara Information||126.300 MHz|
Aerodrome Geographical Data
|ARP||N31°36.31' / W8°02.27'|
|Aerodrome Location||4 NM S of Marrakech City|
|Elevation at ARP||1545 feet|
|Magnetic Variation||2.0° West|
|Transition altitude||6 000 ft|
Radio Navigation & Landing Aids
|ILS 10||MAR||-||109.700 MHz||3° GP|
Published Holding Procedures
|FIX||Min/Max Alt||Inbound Track||Turn Direction||RWY|
|ODALO||6,000 ft / FL 130||279°||Right||28|
|RAMIM||5,500 ft / FL 120||098°||Right||10|
|MAK VOR/DME||3,200 ft / FL 110||279°||Left||10|
|Runways||Dimensions||Magnetic Bearing||Threshold Elevation|
|10/28||3,100 x 45 m||98° / 278°||461 m / 471 m|
|10||3,100 m||3,160 m||3,290 m||3,100 m|
|28||3,100 m||3,100 m||3,235 m||3,100 m|
Aprons and Parking
The SMC controller’s callsign, for radio communication and coordination, is “Menara Ground”.
The SMC controller is the first station for all departing aircraft (IFR/VFR) to call and is responsible for operations on the surface of Marrakech Menara Airport, such as pushback/engine start-up, repositioning and taxi.
En Route Clearance and Start-up
To prevent any unnecessary delays, pilots are provided with their start-up clearance along with their en route clearance. This clearance should conform to the following format and each of the following items must be read back.
An IFR clearance shall be in the following format:
- Departure procedure;
- Initially cleared altitude;
- SSR code
RAM402D: "Menara Delivery, Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, information bravo, request start-up clearance to Casablanca"
GMMX_DEL: "Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, Menara Delivery, information bravo correct, start-up approved, cleared to Casablanca, MABAP4D departure, climb initally FL80, squawk 3463"
RAM402D: "Start-up approved, cleared to Casablanca, MABAP4D departure, climb initally FL80, squawk 3463, Royal Air Maroc 402 delta"
GMMX_DEL: "Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, readback correct, report ready for pushback."
If a clearance cannot be immediately granted by the controller for any reason, the pilot shall be instructed to standby for clearance. Additionally, the controller may issue 'technical start-up' approval to the pilot, indicating that their start-up request has been approved but the en route clearance is still being processed.
It is important to note that pilots are not authorised to start their engines when positioned at nose-in stands and a separate clearance for pushback is still required. The start-up clearance will be recorded as Estimated Off-Block Time (EOBT). If the start-up clearance cannot be provided within the next 5 minutes, the start-up shall not be approved, and the pilot shall be given the Target Start-Up Approval Time (TSAT).
In situations of high traffic volume, when a pilot requests start-up, they may receive a Target Start-up Approval Time (TSAT). This TSAT indicates the anticipated time for the pilot to receive approval for start-up/pushback.
If the pilot requests start-up while also requesting the en route clearance, the TSAT will be provided simultaneously. The pilot is responsible for initiating the start-up process by informing the controller when they are ready for start-up.
GMMX_DEL: "Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, start up time at 1415 (TSAT 14:15z), report aircraft ready"
RAM402D: "Wilco, Royal Air Maroc 402 delta"
The runway will be confirmed either prior to taxi or during the pushback clearance by Ground.
The pushback direction depends on the location of the aircraft and runway configuration.
Example: "Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, pushback approved, face north, runway 28”.
VFR circuits shall not be permitted at the aerodrome during times of increased IFR departure or arrival activity and shall be permitted only after prior coordination with TWR.
Taxiway Usage and Restrictions
Marrakech does not have any officially regulated taxi routes, but there is a primary taxiway known as Papa. When RWY 28 is being used, taxiing is straightforward since all aircraft will exit at C5 at the minimum. However, if RWY 10 is in use, planes will likely vacate at C4 or C3, and it may be necessary to hold the aircraft at the holding point for traffic taxiing on Papa.
To allow sufficient time for receiving clearance to cross the runway, Ground must handoff traffic well before it reaches the holding point of 10/28.
In any circumstance, it is expected that Ground will handoff traffic to Tower in advance.
Runway Change Procedure
Tower shall provide ample notice to Ground before changing runway configuration. The last departure using the old configuration shall be coordinated between Tower, Ground and Approach.
Aircraft that have already been cleared to taxi using the old configuration shall be re-cleared if they have not already reached the holding point.
The aerodrome controller’s (ADC) callsign, for radio communication and coordination, is "Menara Tower".
Tower is responsible for all aerodrome movements on runways and their associated taxiways and all operations within the Marrakech CTR below 2 200 ft.
Tower shall also ensure separation between IFR aircraft that are arriving at and departing the aerodrome, as well as provide traffic information about VFR flights operating within the aerodrome traffic zone.
Tower determines the direction of operations. Runway configurations should not be mixed and arrivals and departures should remain segregated.
As part of the take-off clearance, Tower shall include instructions for the pilot to contact Approach on the designated frequency once airborne.
A conditional clearance is a clearance issued by an air traffic controller which does not become effective until a specified condition has been satisfied. Conditional line up instructions must include the traffic that the aircraft is to follow, as well as the word “behind” at the beginning and end of the transmission.
"Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, behind the departing company Boeing 737-800, line-up and wait, runway 10, behind".
However, if the aircraft ahead is already well clear, the next aircraft may be instructed simply to: “line-up and wait.”
Aircraft shall be separated on departure in compliance with standard IFR departure wake turbulence separation requirements. Departures with the same flow point must be separated by at least 7 NM or the appropriate wake turbulence requirement, whichever is greater. A greater separation needs to be coordinated between the radar controller and TWR.
All fixed-wing IFR departures with the same TMA flow point shall be transferred to Approach with 7 NM in trail. For separation of 7 NM, the proceeding traffic needs to be 4-5 NM away from the end of the departure runway. If no radar screen is used, two minute separation can be used in this case as well.
If the distance ends up being less than 7 NM but more than 3NM (ensured), coordination is required and avoiding action to be taken by the pilot is given when the controller considers that an imminent risk a collision will exist if action is not taken immediately.
VFR aircraft may be instructed to maintain visual separation with preceding aircraft and given a take-off clearance if no wake turbulence or flow separation minima exist.
"Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, wind 070 degrees, 12 knots, runway 10, cleared for take-off".
When traffic is clear of DER (if there is no WTS minima) or the respective minima between the two aircraft, a departure may be cleared for aircraft that do not require separation along the same flow point or a WTS minima greater than 7 NM. However, the controller shall provide traffic information as appropriate to ensure traffic is separated upon TMA entry.
"Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, wind 070 degrees, 12 knots, runway 10, cleared for take-off, proceeding traffic ATR-600".
ADC shall use caution when departing aircraft with different speed profiles and is fully responsible for ensuring that horizontal or vertical separation exists at all times. It is thus advised that a VFR aircraft on a visual climbout must turn more than 45° from the runway track in order to allow succeeding IFR traffic to depart with separation of less than 3 NM in trail.
Cancelling or Stopping a Take-off
IFR departures shall be instructed to contact the radar controller once airborne in the take-off clearance. When an aircraft has commenced the take-off roll, and it is necessary for the aircraft to abandon take-off in order to avert a dangerous traffic situation, the aircraft should be instructed to stop immediately and the instruction and callsign repeated.
"Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, stop immediately, Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, stop immediately".
For aircraft that have been given a take-off clearance, but have not yet started the roll, they shall be instructed to hold position and the take-off clearance must be cancelled along with the reason for cancellation.
The Approach controller is responsible for establishing longitudinal separation between arrivals until touchdown. If they fall below the separation minima, ADC has to instruct the pilot to go around. In this case, coordination with Approach is strongly recommended.
The minimum separation between two aircraft approaching the same runway is always 7 NM or wake turbulence separation, whichever is higher.
If it is apparent that minimum separation is infringed, Tower may apply a speed reduction to maintain in order to ensure separation, however, controllers must use caution as proceeding arrival flows may be inconvenienced. As such, continuous coordination between Approach and Tower is highly recommended.
"Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, reduce to minimum approach speed".
Aircraft may be instructed to maintain their separation visually if speed control alone will not resolve the conflict. This shall only be done in VMC and with an agreement with the pilot. If no other solutions are practical, the succeeding aircraft shall be instructed to go around.
Missed Approach Instructions
Instructions to carry out a missed approach may be given to avert an unsafe situation. When a missed approach is initiated, cockpit workload is inevitably high. Any transmissions to aircraft going around should be brief and kept to a minimum.
"Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, go around".
Once the traffic has acknowledged the instruction and is observed to be safely climbing away, they shall be handed off to the Approach controller.
"Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, fly runway heading, climb 3 200 ft, contact Menara Approach 119.7".
In the case that there is a risk that the go-around aircraft will overtake the departing aircraft, instructions for avoiding action shall be given to the departing aircraft in the form of altitude restrictions. Additionally, if separation is infringed, each aircraft shall receive relevant traffic information, respectively.
Departures shall not be permitted to commence their take-off roll until separation with go-around traffic is assured.
Entry, exit and transit VFR as well as special VFR routes are mandatory within the TMA.
In the vicinity of the aerodrome traffic zone, traffic shall report their entry/exit at 2 200 ft or below.
VFR traffic shall be cleared using the most appropriate VFR route on track to the destination, in accordance with the published VFR routes.
“CN-BOB, after departure runway 35L, turn right Ait Ourir, 2 000 ft, VFR”.
Only after prior coordination with Approach shall traffic that requests clearance to climb into the TMA be released. If not, they will be instructed to remain outside of controlled airspace after exiting the control zone and to squawk the VFR standard code”.
“CN-BOB, approaching Ait Ourir, contact Approach 119.700”.
Aerodrome Traffic Circuits
VFR aircraft wishing to do circuits at Marrakech shall receive clearance in the following format:
“CN-BOB, runway 28, standard left hand circuit, 2 000 ft, VFR”.
VFR traffic wishing to remain in the circuit shall be cleared only after prior coordination with Tower and shall either be assigned right-hand patterns for runway 10 or standard circuits (left-hand) for runway 28.
Circuit direction should be assigned to prevent aircraft from overflying the airport and shall be conducted at an altitude of 2 000 ft. Aircraft may also be cleared to conduct circuits at 2 200 ft if required for high-performance aircraft.
Aircraft may request either touch and go, a stop and go, a low approach, or a full stop.
Once the Tower Controller is aware of the aircraft’s intentions within the control zone, they may be sequenced to the runway, with due consideration given to runway occupancy time.
Aircraft on the downwind should be passed the following information:
- Expected runway;
- Traffic information if applicable
Inbound VFR aircraft shall be sent to Tower with enough time such that two-way radio communications have been established before aircraft enter the ATZ.
On initial contact, Tower will pass the instructions for joining the circuit, as well as any other pertinent information such as traffic information with the sector.
“CN-BOB, runway 28, enter CTR via Canal Route Ourika, VFR”.
During times of heavy IFR arrival activity, VFR arrivals may be denied entry into the control zone and instructed to hold outside of the CTR awaiting further instructions. Once a slot has been coordinated between Tower and Approach, VFR arrivals may proceed, however, the estimated delay must be given to the pilot if the clearance limit surpasses 5 minutes.
“CN-BOB, hold outside of the CTR, expect onward clearance time 55”.
Low Visibility Procedures (LVP)
The three stages of Low Visibility Procedures are:
|Factor||Preparation Stage||In-force Stage||Termination Stage|
|RVR||1 000 m or less||Less than 800 m||More than 1 500 m and increasing|
|Cloud Base||Less than 400 ft||Less than 200 ft||More than 300 ft and increasing|
"Royal Air Maroc 402 delta, wind 070 degrees, 12 knots, runway 28, cleared to land, runway visual range 650 metres, 700 metres and 600 metres”.
Arriving aircraft should be given the easiest taxi route to allow them to clear the localiser-sensitive area expeditiously.
Landing clearance shall not be issued until:
- Preceding landing aircraft has vacated the localiser-sensitive area.
- Preceding departing aircraft is airborne and has passed over the localiser antenna (DER).
The Localiser Sensitive Area in front of an arriving aircraft shall not be infringed from the time it is 2 NM from the touchdown unit it has completed its landing roll.
Menara Approach (APP) is in charge of all traffic within the Marrakech TMA as well as the Marrakech CTR and is required to offer approach control services to aircraft from the time and location at which arriving aircraft are transferred from Casablanca ACC until control is transferred to ADC, departing aircraft on specific routes are transferred from ADC until they are transferred to Casablanca ACC or until an aircraft is clear of controlled airspace.
Approach provides services suitable for approach control tasks and ensures uniform separation between Special VFR and IFR flights as well as between Special VFR flights.
7 NM radar separation minima between all aircraft is to be applied by Approach.
Departing aircraft shall be cleared to their final level before handoff to ACC unless they were cleared to a lower altitude in their departure clearance and are to be handed off 2 minutes prior to reaching the vertical or lateral limits of the TMA.
When issuing deviations off track are required, Approach shall ensure departures are above MRVA or are able to maintain visual separation from the terrain.
Speed restrictions below FL100 may be cancelled by Approach in order to increase separation.
Aircraft must be transferred to the appropriate ACC controller at the designated flight levels:
Effective coordination between Casablanca ACC and Approach is essential for efficient management of arrivals into GMMX airport. Tactical directs are often issued early on to establish a sequence for arrivals, who typically do not fly STARs and are instead sequenced via various arrival points. They are subsequently vectored to align with the final approach. On occasion, arrivals may be assigned the STAR but then vectored prior to reaching the Initial Approach Fix (IAF).
During periods of high traffic, arrivals will be cleared to FL160 and transferred to Approach passing FL170 to alleviate the controller's workload. However, in normal operating conditions, the default procedure is for arrivals to be cleared to FL180 and transferred to approach when the aircraft is approaching FL190.