Royal Air Maroc and oneworld finally celebrate their alliance

Officials of Royal Air Maroc and oneworld celebrating the integration of the first African company into the alliance, after two years of waiting (Photo Florian Guillemin)

The pride was visible in the eyes of the crew of flight AT555, who on this Friday 25 mars saw rain on the Boeing 737 of Royal Air Morocco the traditional “water salute” specific to major events. It must be said that the Moroccan company and its teams had to show patience and resilience before seeing their arrival in thealliance oneworldeffective from 1st avril 2020. Two long years marked like all airlines by the health crisis, culminating in a border closure of the Kingdom finally lifted last February.

A number of events would simply be “fallen by the wayside” during such a period of time. Not this one. On the contrary, the two partners have planned celebrations in series, first at Abidjanthen therefore to Lagos March 25. Proof if needed that the arrival of this fourteenth company in the ranks of oneworld is nothing anecdotal. Business travelers have already been able to appreciate the concrete benefits, with a constantly improving quality of service. Because by joining oneworld, Royal Air Maroc opens the door to 650 airport lounges around the world, a thousand destinations, and the possibility of accumulating and using miles with the thirteen other member companies.

Royal Air Morocco
The Royal Air Maroc Boeing 737 was honored with a “water salute” upon arrival on the tarmac in Lagos, Nigeria (Photo FG)

First African airline at oneworld

Important, this membership of Royal Air Morocco is without a doubt for oneworld. Because this is the first African company to join the alliance American Airlines, British Airways or Iberia. And given the region’s promising prospects, the Casablanca hub is called upon to play a strategic role in the near future of oneworld and its members. Moreover, only three other African companies are now members of a global alliance, namely Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways. A configuration that logically influenced Royal Air Maroc’s decision, as explained by Karim Benchekoun, CFO of the Moroccan company: ” We did a lot of analysis, and we identified that the best alliance for us was oneworld, as it did not have a member company in Africa. Skyteam and Star Alliance already had a strong presence in Africa, and our goal is to complete the network of member airlines. It was therefore more natural for us to join oneworld, with the benefits that this represents in terms of network ».

Royal Air Maroc brings oneworld to Africa, but also brings Africa to oneworld

« Royal Air Maroc brings oneworld to Africa, but also brings Africa to oneworld, which is very important », sums up Karim Benchekoun, who can pride himself onadd around thirty destinations to the alliance network on the African continent. This new regional anchor of oneworld should also gain in consistency, while Royal Air Maroc intends to expand its catalog in Africa. First, by taking care of its existing network in terms of frequencies and of abilities over the period 2022-2023. Then by improving its coverage of the territory by targeting medium-haul destinations. « We are committed to serving theEast Africa », assure Karim Benchekoun. « There are projects to Kigali, Nairobi, Addis Ababa … These destinations are in the pipeline, but with the crisis all airlines are facing economic difficulties. It is therefore more likely that these lines will be launched in 2024 or 2025 “, he specifies.

Royal Air Morocco
Karim Benchekoun (Royal Air Maroc) worked from the very beginning of the file with the CEO of oneworld Rob Gurney to integrate the company into the alliance (FG)

The arrival of Royal Air Morocco in the alliance also and above all marks a major step in the history of the company founded in 1957, at the same time as it paves the way towards an ambitious future. Ambitious, and above all demanding, because joining oneworld means complying with strict specifications, and rising to the level of standards adopted by prestigious members. ” When we talk about oneworld member companies, we are talking about American Airlines, the world’s leading company, we are talking about British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Malaysia or Quantas… We are therefore talking about best companies in the world. And being part of this club is a real honor for us “. The company had nevertheless managed to surprise these prestigious interlocutors when it joined, as the CEO of oneworld, Rob Gurney, recalls: “ When we first announced that Royal Air Maroc would be joining oneworld, we expected it to ’embark’ with us in mid-2020, 18 months later. [Les responsables de Royal Air Maroc] completed the implementation program in 15 months “. But the hardest part may be yet to come, because Royal Air Maroc is now required to keep up with its partners. So much the better: the leaders of the company obviously have the idea of ​​bringing RAM into a new dimension.

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