Royal Air Maroc is to be the next full member of the Oneworld alliance from mid-2020.
The announcement was made today, Wednesday 5 December 2018, at a press conference in New York. Its regional subsidiary Royal Air Maroc Express will also join as a Oneworld affiliate member.
This means that members of Oneworld alliance frequent flyer programmes will be entitled to earn miles and tier points/status credits and receive reciprocal recognition when flying on Royal Air Maroc.
Royal Air Maroc’s principal hub is in Casablanca. The airlines flies to Casablanca from Gatwick and Heathrow daily. From Casablanca, it serves a signifiant number of destinations in West Africa. This includes a number of routes previously suspended by BA including Freetown, Luanda and Monrovia.
It has a fleet of 55 aircraft, with Boeing 737-800 and Embraer E190 aircraft operating short and medium-haul routes, and Boeing 767 and Boeing 787-8 aircraft operating long-haul routes. The airline does have ambitious plans to grow its fleet and network, and also plans to revamp its brand image and aircraft interiors.
Co-operation between Royal Air Maroc and Oneworld has been expected for some time. It already codeshares with Iberia and Qatar Airways. It was also announced more than two years ago that it was due to adopt the Avios currency. This has not happened yet, possibly due to IT issues.
BA did fly from London Heathrow to Casablanca until October 2012 after it inherited the route from bmi. It may well reinstate the route to offer onward codeshares with Royal Air Maroc.
Earlier this year, Oneworld introduced a new form of membership Oneworld Connect. Fiji Airways is the inaugural Oneworld Connect member. Under Oneworld Connect membership only a limited range of benefits are offered to customers of Oneworld airlines and full Oneworld benefits, such as earning of frequent flyer miles, are offered to sponsoring airlines.
In terms of other prospective members of Oneworld, Alaska Airlines has confirmed it is looking at Oneworld Connect membership. Aer Lingus may also rejoin the alliance after it joins the transatlantic joint-venture with American Airlines, BA, Finnair and Iberia.