Photograph — ksarighnda

Moroccan national carrier, Royal Air Maroc will now fly directly to Boston’s Logan International Airport three times a week, on Monday, Thursday, Saturday, connecting Casablanca with the New England state. The airline had launched a similar direct route to Miami two months ago. This move now brings the airline’s American routes to four, including New York and Washington.

Royal Air Maroc rep for the Americas, Amine El Farissi said the launch of the Casablanca-Boston route was in line with the airline’s strategy of development in the US. Noting the big presence of Moroccan and African students in Boston, where there are fifty-two tertiary institutions and about 6,000 Moroccan immigrants, Farissi also acknowledged the flight back from Massachusetts would be full of tourists.” The airline’s president and CEO Hamid Addou said 2019 would be “a turning point” for his organization in the US, as new direct routes will “bring the continent closer to North America.”

Director of Aviation at Logan International Airport David S. Ishihara said Maroc Air’s addition was vital while noting its novelty and the potential clientele base. “We are particularly proud of this because it is our first direct flight not only from Boston to Casablanca but from Africa in general. People will be able to take this flight not only for education or business but also for tourism.” Casablanca’s big advantage as a stopover point is its positional proximity to Europe, a continent from which tourists spent about 2.5 billion nights abroad in 2015.

Royal Maroc Air, like African counterparts EgyptAir and Ethiopian Airways before it, will travel primarily on this route using its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. It also plans to use a 787-8 Dreamliner in future. The airline had received two additional GEnx-1B-powered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners aircrafts earlier this month, bringing its 787-9 Dreamliner fleet to nine aircrafts. The Dreamliner is designed for comfort on long-haul trips, so the acquisition of two more always signals an airline’s intent at route expansion.

Royal Air Maroc now flies to over ninety destinations with a fleet of over fifty-five aircraft. It was also recently invited to join OneWorld, an international airline cohort. The Dreamliner has an estimated travel capacity of 14,800-15,700 km non-stop and a reported twenty percent saving on fuel consumption. Powered by Rolls Royce engines, the Dreamliner has about 279 economy seats.

While keeping an eye on expansion, the airline will serve its own best interests if it pays closer attention to incidences of lost baggage, to avoid the kind of public court held on social media recently after some travellers lost their bags. Nonetheless, it’s great to see African airlines continue to make ambitious direct connections, despite the IATA’s forecast that African airlines will see profits fall by eleven percent this year. Hopefully, these expansions add up to a finer and more positive outlook for them by year’s end.

By Caleb Ajinomoh

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