Reports of Royal Air Maroc commencing flights between Casablanca and Tel Aviv this month appear to be premature. There was a flurry of speculation last week, including some online reports, that Royal Air Maroc was set to start flying between the two cities in mid-January. That’s just two weeks away and there is no official word out of the airline or booking availability to support these claims.
In early December, Israel and Morocco normalized diplomatic ties. That eases the way for nonstop flights between the two countries. That’s welcome news for the approximately 50,000 Israelis who travel to Morocco every year. Both El Al Israel Airlines and Royal Air Maroc jumped at the chance to start flights between the two countries. But both airlines and their respective governments said it would take a few months to smooth the way.
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Premature reports of flights mid-January flights to Tel Aviv
Last week, according to multiple online reports, that timeline was being brought forward. There were suggestions Royal Air Maroc flights would start from mid-January. These reports appear to be based on a December 28 report on the Moroccan news site, Le360.
“It’s official. RAM will inaugurate its Casablanca-Tel Aviv commercial flights on January 16, 2021, Le360 learned from informed sources.”
Le360 said Royal Air Maroc would begin with four return services a week using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. Royal Air Maroc has nine Dreamliners, including five Boeing 787-8s and four Boeing 787-9s. Two of those Dreamliners are parked so Royal Air Maroc has the spare capacity to operate flights to Tel Aviv in the short term.
Last week, another Morrocan news site, Morocco World News, carried a report of online travel agent Kiwi.com, selling Royal Air Maroc flights between Casablanca and Tel Aviv from January 16. The Morocco World News reports had images from the Kiwi.com site substantiating their report. However, that availability is no longer showing when Simple Flying checked it today.
Simple Flying has also checked a number of online flight availability sites, including Google Flights. There is presently no non-stop availability from Casablanca and Tel Aviv (or vice versa) across January. The Royal Air Maroc booking engine also has no flights to Tel Aviv timetabled in or available for sale across January.
No firm Morocco start date from El Al
Meanwhile, Israel’s El Al Airlines sent an aircraft to Rabat just before Christmas carrying a joint US-Israeli delegation. At that time, no formal paperwork ratifying normalization had been signed. However, White House special adviser Jared Kushner and Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat flew in on that El Al flight to witness.
Apart from that very public flight in December, El Al hasn’t announced firm start dates for the beginning of flights to Morocco. Like Royal Air Maroc, El Al is keen to start flying between the two countries but it has previously said it would take a few months to get services up and running.
Simple Flying has approached Royal Air Maroc to clarify the situation. We haven’t heard back before the publication deadline.