After spending a stunning weekend with my family in Agadir, we had to return to Casablanca Sunday evening so we could all go back to work. Luckily, Royal Air Maroc offers no less than five frequencies between the holiday town and the economic capital. Wanting to make the most of our stay in Agadir, we took the last flight of the day, at 21:45, which was operated by RAM Express.
We left our hotel at 19:30, arriving at Agadir airport at 19:57. Since Agadir airport is rather small, and there was absolutely no one else in the queues, we were checked in and through security in no more than ten minutes.
The domestic boarding area was small, with only two gates, a cafe, and rows of seats. There was, however, a VIP lounge, but since we didn’t have access, we couldn’t check it out. The door to the lounge featured a beautiful traditional Moroccan mosaic. The boarding area also featured Wi-Fi, a prayer room, and restrooms.
Being such a small airport, plane spotting was possible, and I got this shot of an air Arabia Morocco A320, the only aircraft type in the fleet.
The ATR – a workhorse of the African skies
As is standard with ATRs, we boarded through the rear door, eventually making our way to row five. Also standard for ATRs is the limited overhead storage space, although this wasn’t too much an issue today.
What did surprise me about this particular ATR was the interior fit and finish. Admittedly, the last time I flew on an ATR was with Air Madagascar a few years back, and a decade or so ago with Precision Air in Tanzania. From what I can remember, ATRs tended to be dim, dark, and cramped, sometimes with odd backward-facing seat configurations. This ATR, on the other hand, was modern, bright and even somewhat airy.
A noisy, and (nearly) uneventful flight
What hasn’t changed too much since the last time I flew an ATR is the noise. As we taxied from our parking position and the engines powered up, I was thrown back into a state of nostalgia of flights past. Particularly, memories of numerous, and markedly loud, especially for my young ears, Precision Air flights between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Before I could finish my journey down memory lane, the Captain came on the speaks to announce an imminent takeoff. Seconds later, the two turboprops were set to full thrust, the cabin was immersed in a roar, and we were propelled into the night.
After that, not much happened. As we reached air cruising altitude the seat-belt signs were turned off and the lights were kept dim. Much like my last RAM flight, no service was offered to economy class passengers. I did, however, see a drinks service in the small ‘euro-business section upfront.
At 22:34 the seat-belt signs were turned on and we started our descent. Almost simultaneously, we hit some turbulence and cross winds, which definitely felt significant in the turboprop. Thankfully, the bumps stopped a few minutes later.
Rather oddly, as we continued our approach, a faint, unpleasant, smell swept through the cabin and a muted yelping alarm could be heard. Though I can only presume the source of the smell, due to its earthy, woody, fragrance, it eventually dissipated, and the flight continued uneventfully.
We touched down a few moments later at 22:50, and we were through national ID checks little past 23h.
Overall, this was a rather comfortable, and largely uneventful, regional flight on the thriving national carrier.