It was announced back in 2018 that Royal Air Maroc would be joining the oneworld airline alliance at some point in 2020.
French aviation site Air Journal reports – in what seems to be a reliable story – that oneworld and the airline have agreed that membership will begin on 31st March 2020. This means that you can earn and spend Avios on Royal Air Maroc from 31st March.
Royal Air Maroc opens up a lot of new options in Africa. oneworld has, to date, been lacking a full member in Africa, putting it at a disadvantage vs SkyTeam (Kenya Airways) and Star Alliance (Ethiopian Airlines and South African).
Royal Air Maroc Express, the regional subsidiary, will become an affiliate member of oneworld.
Which airlines are in the oneworld alliance?
oneworld will have 14 full members once Royal Air Maroc is integrated. As well as British Airways, the other airlines involved, on which you can already earn and spend Avios, are: American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Fiji Airlines is a looser ‘oneworld connect’ member.
It won’t be 14 for long, of course, as LATAM is leaving in October 2020. It remains to be seen if Air Europa will become a full member if it is eventually acquired by IAG. It is also possible that Aer Lingus seeks to become a full member at some point.
Where can you redeem Avios on Royal Air Maroc?
Royal Air Maroc has a bigger network than you might think. It flies to 100 cities in 49 countries. Impressively, 21 of these countries currently have no oneworld flights at all.
Here is a route map, which is slightly out of date but is the current one on their website, of where Royal Air Maroc flies from its Casablanca base – click to enlarge:
Here are a few things you will be able to do on Royal Air Maroc from 31st March:
Fly direct from Manchester to Casablanca (Summer only)
Fly direct from London Heathrow and London Gatwick to Casablanca (British Airways does not fly to Casablanca so this is a new Avios option)
Fly from Casablanca to five North American cities – Boston, Miami, Montreal, New York, Washington
Fly from Casablanca to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai
Fly from Casablanca to a very wide range of African cities – see the map above
What does Royal Air Maroc fly?
It is 20 years since I flew with RAM, but the fleet looks impressive on paper. The long-haul fleet is primarily brand new Boeing 787 aircraft, with fully flat beds in Business Class.
Here’s the real treat though: looking at this review here, short-haul Business Class has ‘proper’ seating. It is a 2 x 2 layout, as opposed to the ‘3 x 3 with a blocked middle seat’ approach taken by the European carriers.
This could mean a very relaxing trip down to Casablanca if you want a weekend away with a difference.
Would you really want to fly long haul via Casablanca?
On the face of it, it seems unlikely that you’d want to divert via Casablanca to get to New York! It is slightly less of a diversion from Rio, Sao Paulo etc.
There are two scenarios under which this might work, however:
on cash tickets, if Royal Air Maroc had good Business Class sale fares. You would earn 40 + 140 + 140 + 40 = 260 tier points return on most routes from London or Manchester via Casablanca.
on Avios tickets, IF taxes and charges are very low. We won’t know until 31st March how low (or not) the taxes and charges will be but there might be some interesting options.
One thing remains a mystery …..
Three years ago, Royal Air Maroc announced that it was adopting Avios as the currency of its Safar Flyer loyalty programme. Since then ….. radio silence. I have no idea if this deal is now dead or not.
Overall, whilst this isn’t an airline I can see myself using in the short-term, it is a good addition to oneworld and adds some valuable new destinations to the network.
You can find out more about Royal Air Maroc on its website here.
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