Royal Air Maroc Could Slowly Replace Qatar Airways If They Decide To Leave Oneworld

Qatar has been claiming they are going to leave Oneworld if they don’t get a fair go for some time.

This is because of conflicts with fellow Oneworld partners and founders, Qantas and American Airways.

The news that Royal Air Maroc (The flag carrier of Morrocan Airways) is joining Oneworld might highlight how strong the alliance is (and still how attractive it is to airlines) but also might indicate that Oneworld is preparing to replace Qatar.

“The reality of global alliances is there’s not always going to be 100% alignment of strategic interests among the member partners” – Rob Gurney, Oneworld chief executive

Why is Royal Air Maroc good for Oneworld?

There are a variety of reasons why Royal Air Maroc is fantastic for Oneworld.

  • This is the first airline in Africa for Oneworld. They have long looked for a suitable partner in the region and this will bring them some great connectivity. One of the other most successful African airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, is a star alliance member.
  • Morroco is well situated to take advantage of traffic between the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Europe. Particularly on the increasing air trade between South America and Europe. This compliments Oneworld as there are several gaps between their various hubs in Europe and South America.
Royal Air Maroc Could Slowly Replace Qatar Airways If They Decide To Leave Oneworld
Royal Air Maroc route map

We’re pleased to welcome Royal Air Maroc to OneWorld.  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. – Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO

Will Royal Air Maroc be able to replace Qatar?

Now if Qatar left Oneworld, would Royal Air Maroc be able to fill the gap?

Qantas vs Qatar
Qatar destinations. Doha, the hub is selected on the map. Source: Qatar Website

First of all, we need to address the differences in fleet size and fleet makeup. Royal Air Maroc only has 55 jets in their fleet compared to Qatar’s 224. Additionally, Qatar is specialized in long-distance large capacity routes, whilst Royal Air Maroc runs a large Boeing 737 fleet.

But maybe that is perfect for Oneworld. If Qatar’s fleet of high capacity long-haul jets are no longer in the alliance, then the other member airlines no longer have to worry about competing on many of the same routes. They can aggressively compete against the Qatar jets in their home territory (Especially in the case with Qantas, who is currently fighting Qatar over Australia). Thus Royal Air Maroc will be encouraged just to focus on Africa, with some long-haul routes through their main hub.

Royal Air Maroc
Royal Air Maroc is the alliances first African member. Photo: OneWorld

Royal Air Maroc is also going through a five-year expansion plan. They are upgrading their fleet with new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, overhauling their branding to be more modern and see themselves as the new hub for the region.

“This undoubtedly represents one of the most significant landmarks in our airline’s 60-year history and on our journey to establish Royal Air Maroc as the leading airline of Africa.” – Abdelhamid Addou, Royal Air Maroc’s CEO

What do you think? Could Royal Air Maroc replace Qatar in Oneworld?