Royal Air Maroc has signed up to become the next member of oneworld.
Its election as a oneworld member-designate was announced when the chief executives of the alliance’s 13 current member airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways and others gathered in New York for their year-end meeting.
The announcement came just weeks before the alliance celebrates the 20th anniversary of its launch.
Royal Air Maroc is expected to become part of oneworld in mid-2020 when it will start flying alongside some of the biggest and best brands in the airline business.
Its regional subsidiary, Royal Air Maroc Express, will join as a oneworld affiliate member at the same time.
While southern Africa’s Comair, which flies as a franchisee of British Airways, has been a oneworld affiliate member since the alliance launched in February 1999, Royal Air Maroc will be oneworld’s first full member from Africa — the only continent, apart from Antarctica, where the alliance hasn’t had a full member.
It will also be the alliance’s first new full-member airline signed since 2012, although Fiji Airways links to the alliance starting today as the first partner of oneworld connect, the first new membership platform since the alliance was established.
Royal Air Maroc chief executive, Abdelhamid Addou, said: “Royal Air Maroc is excited and honoured to have been invited to become oneworld’s wings of Africa.
“We look forward to completing our flight on board speedily and smoothly so that we can offer the services and benefits of the world’s best airline alliance to our customers and across our own network as soon as possible.
“We will be flying alongside the finest collection of air carriers in the skies, while at the same time making it easier for people all over the world to reach our historic and beautiful part of the world.
“This undoubtedly represents one of the most significant landmarks in our airline’s 60-year history and on our journey to establish Royal Air Maroc as the leading airline of Africa.”
Today, Royal Air Maroc is the largest unaligned carrier in Africa, with a transformational strategy well underway to develop it quickly into a global airline and the continent’s leader in terms of both size and quality.
The airline’s schedule will add 34 new destinations and 21 countries to the oneworld map, taking the alliance’s network to 1,069 airports in 178 countries and territories.
Under Royal Air Maroc’s ambitious five-year strategy, it plans to expand its fleet significantly, carrying 13 million customers a year across a global network serving 121 destinations in 68 countries.
This will add another 15 destinations and nine countries to the alliance network, giving the alliance a total of 1,084 destinations in 187 countries and territories.
Three established oneworld member airlines — British Airways, Iberia and Qatar Airways — currently serve three destinations in Morocco between them: CMN, Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK) and Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport (TNG).
Also today, Fiji Airways starts flying as a oneworld connect partner.
Fiji Airways is now starting to display the new oneworld connect branding on its aircraft fuselages by the main passenger doors, on signage at airports and on other many other items of stationery and marketing collateral.
The first Fiji Airways aircraft to feature the oneworld connect logo is its initial Boeing 737 MAX 8, which has just touched down at its Nadi hub after its delivery flight from the manufacturer’s Seattle base.
oneworld connect was unveiled in June as the alliance’s first new membership platform since it was originally announced 20 years ago – with Fiji Airways revealed at the same time as oneworld connect’s debut partner.
oneworld is continuing discussions with other carriers interested in participating in the programme, from various parts of the world including the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Each oneworld connect partner will need to have a minimum of three oneworld members as its sponsors to be initiated into the programme.