Update (1/15/2020): The Oneworld alliance has announced that Royal Air Maroc will officially be integrated into Oneworld on April 1, 2020.
Although the initial announcement and previous statements slated Royal Air Maroc for a “mid-2020” entrance into the oneworld alliance, it appears that Royal Air Maroc will be joining the alliance a little ahead of schedule.
The French website Air Journal reports that Royal Air Maroc and oneworld has slated March 31, 2020 as the official date for Royal Air Maroc to join the alliance. The Moroccan flag carrier will become oneworld’s first full member in Africa plugging a major hole in the alliance’s network (British Airways franchisee Comair in South Africa is an affiliate member of oneworld).
Royal Air Maroc Meets Requirements Ahead Of Schedule
Air Journal (in French) has the news noting that the alliance had audited Royal Air Maroc’s security systems and Royal Air Maroc had updated its reservation systems and is training staff to meet oneworld requirements. Translated (by Google Translate) from French:
After having approved the arrival of Royal Air Maroc (RAM) within the air alliance in December 2018, the members of Oneworld voted the official date of March 31, 2020 for the official integration of the Moroccan company.
In the meantime, the members of Oneworld have validated the installation by Royal Air Maroc of its reservation system in accordance with the standards applied within the airlines of the alliance, as well as the consistency of its loyalty programs.
At the same time, the Moroccan company has launched a vast training program for the benefit of all the teams in contact with customers, both at stopovers and call centers as well as in sales offices and on board aircraft. Finally, the alliance audited the Moroccan company’s security systems and confirmed that they comply with the best practices it recommended.
Oneworld Expands Into Africa
Until now, Royal Air Maroc has been the largest unaligned carrier in Africa. While SkyTeam had Kenya Airways as a member and Star Alliance includes Ethiopian, Egyptair, and South African Airways, oneworld had no Africa-based members.
Luckily for its Oneworld partners, Royal Air Maroc has not been plagued by safety and maintenance scandals like Star Alliance members Egyptair and Ethiopian. And the airline has recently been posting profits and has the support of its government, meaning it is not in danger of liquidation like rival African carriers Kenya Airways and South African Airways. Meanwhile, it’s hub is located in Casablanca, which recently beat out Johannesburg, South Africa as the continent’s leading financial center.
Since the announcement a year ago, oneworld members have been preparing. Royal Air Maroc has preexisting partnerships with oneworld members Iberia and Qatar Airways. American Airlines announced Royal Air Maroc’s hub of Casablanca as its first African destination starting in June 2020 and will be codesharing with RAM. Oneworld members British Airways, Iberia, and Qatar Airways already serve destinations in Morocco.
Royal Air Maroc serves a number of important oneworld partner hubs from its Casablanca base including Doha, London (Heathrow and Gatwick), Madrid, Miami, Moscow (Domodedovo), and New York (JFK).
We now know exactly when members of Royal Air Maroc’s Safar Flyer elites will have access to the more than 650 oneworld lounges around the world and access other alliance benefits, and other Oneworld frequent flyers will earn miles and access status perks on RAM.
With the addition, oneworld will serve 34 new destinations in 21 countries giving it a total reach of 1,069 airports in 178 countries and territories.
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