About a year and a half ago, in late 2018, the oneworld Alliance held a press conference in New York and publicly declared that Moroccan carrier Royal Air Maroc would be joining the team. The process to join doesn’t happen overnight, but finally, the time has come. 15 months after the initial announcement, the North African carrier can call itself a member of the alliance. This will officially take place on April 1st, just two days from now.
oneworld’s 14th member airline
Business Traveller confirmed with oneworld’s press office that the move would go ahead as planned. Some had questioned whether the inauguration of the airline would be delayed, given the current global situation.
This will make Royal Air Maroc the alliance’s 14th member. As such, it will join the ranks of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and more.
“The entry of Royal Air Maroc into oneworld from 1 April follows a 15-month implementation programme to integrate Royal Air Maroc into the alliance. The airline’s regional subsidiary Royal Air Maroc Express will also join as a oneworld affiliate member from 1 April.” – oneworld
Abdelhamid Addou, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Air Maroc, said in a January press release that the average duration of the integration process varies between 18 and 20 months. However, for his airline, it would take us just 15 months between the invitation and the official integration. He attributes this to the fact that the airline’s systems are at a “higher level”. This facilitates alignment with the existing systems of the alliance and its members.
An African presence, finally
oneworld has badly needed an alliance member on the African continent. While British Airways and Qatar both serve a fair amount of destinations in Africa, it does little in terms of travel between the major cities of the continent.
Despite this upcoming move, Star Alliance will retain its dominance in Africa. Its member airlines there include EgyptAir, South African Airways, and continental juggernaut Ethiopian Airlines.
The SkyTeam Alliance is currently limited to Kenya Airways. However, Kenya’s relatively central location on the continent (especially in terms of latitude) means that it can efficiently connect Europe with numerous destinations in the southern part of Africa as well as West Africa.
Judging by Royal Air Maroc’s route map, it looks like service to West Africa will be where the airline truly shines. This is especially important as more of Africa opens up to the world, becoming more industrialized. Furthermore, increases in standards of living will make sub-Saharan Africa more of a market for the world to sell its goods.
Under more normal circumstances the inauguration would include a large media event with press and media in attendance. Unfortunately, given current events, this won’t be happening as envisioned. Still, its exciting news and we’re glad to see it finally taking place.
For the frequent flyers and loyalty members out there, does Royal Air Maroc’s membership in oneworld influence your choice of alliance? Let us know in the comments!