Royal Air Maroc Will Move Its Tenerife Operations In March

Schedule data has revealed that Morocco’s privately owned state airline, Royal Air Maroc, will be making some alterations to its Casablanca to Tenerife route this coming summer. It appears the carrier will be moving from Tenerife Norte Airport to Tenerife Sur Airport.

CN-COF / Royal Air Maroc Express / ATR 72-600
Royal Air Maroc is making a change to its Casablanca to Tenerife service. Photo: Lasse B. via Wikimedia Commons

CH-Aviation reported today on a significant change to Royal Air Maroc’s Tenerife operations for summer 2020.

Analysis of Royal Air Maroc’s schedule data for summer 2020 shows that the airline’s subsidiary, Royal Air Maroc Express, has opted to leave Tenerife Norte Airport in favor of Tenerife Sur Airport.

From 25 March 2020, the airline will no longer fly to Tenerife Norte, formerly known as Los Rodeos Airport. Instead, it will fly to the larger of Tenerife’s two airports – Tenerife Sur, also known as Reina Sofía Airport.

Currently Royal Air Maroc Express operates three flights per week from Casablanca International Airport to Tenerife Norte using its fleet of six ATR 72-600s.

In total, Royal Air Maroc and Royal Air Maroc Express fly to six different destinations in Spain.

Alongside Tenerife, they also fly to Barcelona El Prat, Las Palmas, Madrid Barajas, Malaga and Valencia Manises.

Why move from norte to sur?

The move from Tenerife Norte to Tenerife Sur hasn’t been confirmed by Royal Air Maroc yet. Simple Flying has requested comment from the airline regarding the switch, and we’ll update the article once we have more information.

Regardless, we can make an educated guess about why the carrier may have decided to move from one airport to the other.

A general view of the ramp on a busy Sunday lunchtime. Visible are aircraft from SAS Scandinavian, Air Berlin, Germania, Primera, TUIfly Nordic and Monarch.
Tenerife Sur Airport is the busier of Tenerife’s two airports. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

Firstly, although it is much closer to Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife Norte is the smaller of Tenerife’s two airports.

In 2018 it handled 5,492,324 passengers, significantly less than the 11,042,412 passengers handled by Tenerife Sur.

Tenerife Norte also handles significantly fewer airlines, just 12 in comparison to Sur’s 43.

What does 2020 have in store for Royal Air Maroc?

Back in early December 2018 it was announced that Royal Air Maroc would be joining the OneWorld alliance.

It’s been a year since the news first broke, and Royal Air Maroc still hasn’t become a fully-initiated member.

But the airline will formally join the alliance some time in mid-2020, becoming OneWorld’s first member from Africa.

Back when the news was announced, Royal Air Maroc’s CEO Abdelhamid Addou said:

“Royal Air Maroc is excited and honored to have been invited to become OneWorld’s wings of Africa.”

Not only will the move help Royal Air Maroc as it tries to establish itself as a leader in the African aviation market, it will also give the OneWorld alliance an important foothold within Africa.

Royal Air Maroc recently announced a codeshare agreement with OneWorld founding member American Airlines in preparation for its admission to the alliance.

At the moment the codeshare agreement covers flights from the US to Casablanca and Marrakech, but more destinations will be added over the next few months. These will include cities in Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria.

Passengers travelling to the US with Royal Air Maroc will also have access to a number of destinations in the States.