Royal Air Maroc mulls expansion in Nigeria
… Becomes first African airline to join Oneworld alliance
Royal Air Maroc, the Northern African carrier has disclosed plans to expand operations in Nigeria even as the airline becomes the first African airline to join the Oneworld Alliance.
The airline which operates daily scheduled flights to Lagos from its base in Casablanca to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos suspended its operations to the Federal Capital Territory (F.C.T) in Abuja due to low passenger traffic, but is reiterating interest to return to the city once the traffic improves.
Speaking at a press conference for the celebration of the alliance between Air Maroc and Oneworld in Lagos, Karim Benchekroun, director, Finance, Royal Air Maroc hinted that although Air Maroc has a small market share in Nigeria, the demand is expected to increase with the new membership.
“Nigeria is a very important market to us. Although the market is not very strong for Air Maroc now, it will increase very soon. We have discovered that people who travel with the airline basically travel for business, tourism and religious visits but the demand is small. We will keep pushing to ensure we increase demand in Nigeria because the population is large,” Benchekroun said.
He said the airline will work with the relevant authorities to ensure visa processes for passengers are easy and seamless.
Oneworld Alliance brings together world-class airlines to deliver a superior, seamless travel experience & special privileges for frequent flyers.
The entry of Royal Air Maroc into oneworld follows a rigorous implementation programme to integrate Royal Air Maroc into the alliance.
Benchekroun said it took the airline a lot of effort and time to be a part of the big alliance, adding that this is a great way to bounce back after border closures as a result of COVID-19.
He said he was optimistic that the membership would also help the airline grow passenger demands across the world, especially in Nigeria.
“It took us a lot of efforts to be a part of this big alliance. We have only three African airlines as parts of the world’s alliances and Royal Air Maroc is the first airline to join the Oneworld alliance from Africa. We have added 30 more destinations to the Oneworld Alliance through our membership.
“The best alliance to join for us is Oneworld. Oneworld did not have any member in Africa until now and since we joined, the economic benefits to the airlines and the travelling public has increased. Our goal was and it is still to compete with other airlines. Our aim is to give more benefits to our passengers and airline.”
He disclosed that the airline chose this particular alliance because apart from being the only African member on the alliance, the alliance has quality members.
Robert Gurney, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oneworld Alliance said that the membership of Royal Air Maroc to the alliance was very strategic.
He said the membership of the airline had further swelled its destinations by 30 on the continent, promising that this would also be beneficial to the Nigerian travellers and market.