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Royal Air Maroc to Join Oneworld Alliance

Royal Air Maroc, the flag carrier of Morocco, will become a member of Oneworld, a global airline alliance that eases connections for travelers and ties together multiple loyalty programs. The announcement was made at a press conference in New York, just weeks before the alliance celebrates the 20th anniversary of its launch.

Royal Air Maroc, the first new Oneworld member in six years, will be fully integrated into the network in mid-2020 because a complex integration process will take 18 months, according to Ron Gurney, CEO of Oneworld. After that, members of Royal Air Maroc’s Safar Flyer loyalty program will be able to earn and redeem rewards on all members airlines.

While Southern Africa’s Comair, which flies as a franchisee of British Airways, has been a Oneworld affiliate member since the alliance launched in February 1999, Royal Air Maroc will be Oneworld’s first full member from Africa – the only continent, apart from Antarctica, where the alliance has, until now, had no full member.

Gurney said that the addition of Royal Air Maroc means greatly improved connectivity for Oneworld travelers in Africa. Abdelhamid Addou, CEO of Royal Air Maroc, added that Royal Air Maroc connects more European cities with Africa than any other airline.

Royal Air Maroc to Join Oneworld Alliance© Oneworld Rob Gurney, Abdelhamid Addou, Alan Joyce celebrate the announcement of Royal Air Maroc joining Oneworld (photo courtesy Oneworld)

Royal Air Maroc is the largest unaligned carrier (unconnected with any alliance until now) in Africa, with a fleet of 55 aircraft and service to 94 destinations in 48 countries. Its current schedule would add 34 new destinations and 21 countries to the Oneworld map, taking the alliance’s network to 1,069 airports in 178 countries and territories.

Addou said that Morocco is the number one tourism destination in Africa with 12 million visitors annually who come for its beaches, mountains, deserts and cities. For business travelers, he said it is the financial center of the continent. The airport in Casablanca, he said, is being totally redone and redeveloped.

The carrier will soon unveil, said Addou, a totally new look with new logos, interiors and more. He said new aircraft will be added every month through June.

Oneworld governing board chairman Alan Joyce, group CEO of Qantas, said Africa is the last major region where Oneworld does not have a full member airline - and has one of the fastest predicted air travel growth rates over the next few decades. He said, “Royal Air Maroc will deliver greater value for more customers worldwide as we expand our alliance network to a new region.”

Gurney said that Oneworld generates $1 billion in revenue annually for its members through corporate accounts. He said that while Oneworld has not kept pace with other alliances, it is moving ahead aggressively with a refreshed website and new digital products.

In answer to a question about whether Qatar Airways would be leaving Oneworld, Gurney said that every member has to act in its own interests, that being “the reality of alliances.” He said that the organization hoped Qatar would remain a member.

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