Royal Air Maroc to join Oneworld on April 1 2020

Oneworld's newest member opens up routes to Africa and the Middle East. Here's what it means for Qantas Frequent Flyers.

By Brandon Loo, January 16 2020
Royal Air Maroc to join Oneworld on April 1 2020

Casablanca-based Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and its regional offshoot are set to join Oneworld on April 1 2020, giving the alliance a much greater reach throughout Morocco, North Africa and the Middle East – 39 new destinations to be precise – and adding yet another partner airline for Qantas. Its regional arm, Royal Air Maroc Express, will become a Oneworld affiliate member.

“We are honoured and delighted to welcome Royal Air Maroc into the alliance, adding our first full member in the fast-growing African continent," remarked Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney “The quality service and global network offered by Royal Air Maroc will position Oneworld as the preferred alliance in Africa, where Casablanca is a leading global financial centre."

The current 13 full members in Oneworld
The current 13 full members in Oneworld

Safar Flyer vs Oneworld status tiers

When the ribbon is cut, travellers with Oneworld Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald status (equivalent to Qantas Silver, Gold and Platinum or higher, respectively) will gain reciprocal perks with RAM, including lounge access where available, plus priority check-in, boarding and baggage delivery.

The same will apply in reverse for members of Royal Air Maroc's Safar Flyer frequent flyer program, which will also introduce a new Platinum tier aligned with Oneworld's top Emerald status. Here's how the tiers will line up:

  • Safar Flyer Blue: The entry-level status won't be expected to offer any Oneworld benefits.
  • Safar Flyer Silver: Will match Oneworld Ruby (equivalent to Qantas Silver) with limited perks such as business class check-in.
  • Safar Flyer Gold: Will match Oneworld Sapphire (equivalent to Qantas Gold) with core perks such as business class lounge access.
  • Safar Flyer Platinum: Will match Oneworld Emerald (equivalent to Qantas Platinum) with boosted perks such as first class lounge access. 

(Royal Air Maroc also maintains an invitation-only Ambassador tier, similar to the likes of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge.)

Flights operated by Royal Air Maroc will also be available as part of the Oneworld Explorer and Global Explorer fare packages from 1 April.

The Royal Air Maroc experience

The majority of RAM flights are flown by the ever-so-familiar Boeing 737s and Boeing 787s, plus a few older Boeing 767s, Embraer 190s and ATR 72-600s (the latter for its regional arm, Royal Air Maroc Express).

RAM's business class on the Boeing 737s consists of 12 recliners across three rows in a 2-2 layout, while the airline's Boeing 787-9s boasts its new flagship seats: 26 fully-flat pods in a modern 1-2-1 configuration, meaning privacy and direct aisle access for all.

Royal Air Maroc's eye-catching new Boeing 737 business class (left) and Boeing 787-9 business class (right). Images from Royal Air Maroc. Adapated by Executive Traveller.
Royal Air Maroc's eye-catching new Boeing 737 business class (left) and Boeing 787-9 business class (right)
Images from Royal Air Maroc. Adapated by Executive Traveller.

If the new Boeing 787-9 suites look familiar, that's because it's based on the same dependable design that many other airlines such as Virgin Australia, American Airlines, Qatar Airways and China Airlines have used for its own business class cabins too.

Royal Air Maroc's new Boeing 787-9 business class is based on the Rockwell Collins Super Diamond seat.. Image from Royal Air Maroc.
Royal Air Maroc's new Boeing 787-9 business class is based on the Rockwell Collins Super Diamond seat.
Image from Royal Air Maroc.

The slightly smaller Boeing 787-8 is also commonly seen on USA and Europe routes. This has a more compact 18-seat business class cabin with just three rows in an older 2-2-2 layout, which does mean that travellers at the window seats will need to step over their seatmate to reach the aisle.

Royal Air Maroc only operates one home lounge in Casablanca and relies on partner lounges at all other destinations. The eponymous Casablanca Lounge at Mohammed V International Airport is recently refurbished and offers the usual expected amenities including dining, a bar, a business centre and places to relax. 

The Royal Air Maroc Lounge at Casablanca Airport.. Lounge Buddy
The Royal Air Maroc Lounge at Casablanca Airport.
Lounge Buddy

A list of partner lounges that RAM uses at other airports is found here [PDF, 37kb, in French], although the list hasn't been updated to include newer destinations like Boston and Miami.

In any case, this gives an insight into the lounges that Oneworld elite frequent flyers will have access to when Royal Air Maroc joins the alliance.

What it means for Qantas Frequent Flyers

While Royal Air Maroc doesn’t fly anywhere near Australia, it has a comprehensive network covering most of Africa, and major hubs in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.

Royal Air Maroc's routes as of 2019.. Maps from Royal Air Maroc. Adapted by Executive Traveller.
Royal Air Maroc's routes as of 2019.
Maps from Royal Air Maroc. Adapted by Executive Traveller.

Reward bookings with Royal Air Maroc are expected to utilise Qantas’ Partner Award Chart, which covers the vast majority of Oneworld alliance partners. Nearly all flights go through the home hub of Casablanca Airport, in Morocco.

(Qantas' reward tables were updated in mid-2019 with big bumps in the number of points needed for business class bookings and small decreases for economy).

For Aussie travellers, the easiest cities to transfer onto the Royal Air Maroc network will usually be London for Qantas passengers, and Doha for Qatar Airways passengers.

Here’s how many Qantas Points you’d need to fly one-way to Casablanca from each of those destinations:

  Business Class Economy Class
London to Casablanca 43,800 20,000
Doha to Casablanca 61,200 24,500

Flights within Africa vary greatly in distance, from 200 miles to just under 4,000 miles. Here’s a snapshot of the Qantas Points needed to fly to different countries within Africa.

Casablanca to: Business Class Economy Class
Regional cities within Morocco 20,000 10,000
Dakar, Lagos, Tripoli 43,800 20,000
Luanda, Accra 61,200 24,500
Nairobi 75,000 30,200

Finally, here are the Qantas Points required for some of Royal Air Maroc's other destinations.

Casablanca to: Business Class Economy Class
Spain (multiple cities) including Tenerife & Las Palmas (Canary Islands) 20,000 10,000
Italy (multiple cities) 30,000 14,000
France, Germany, Switzerland (multiple cities) 43,800 20,000
Moscow, Montréal, Boston
61,200 24,500
New York (JFK), Washington, São Paulo, Miami
75,000 30,200
Bueno Aires 90,000 37,800

Of course, once Royal Air Maroc becomes an operating partner, you'll be able to include it on your next Oneworld around-the-world trip with Qantas Points.

Qantas Frequent Flyers will also be able to earn points and status credits on Royal Air Maroc flights. However, those earning rates are yet to be released.

Brandon Loo

Brandon divides his time between Perth and Launceston, with ample hours spent in airport lounges in between. He recently picked up photography and tries to capture the beauty of Tasmanian landscapes, aeroplane cabins and in-flight food, to varying degrees of success.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Sep 2017

Total posts 10

Fun fact: Royal Air Maroc has recently gotten a little closer to Australia - it began a new three times weekly service between Casablanca (CMN) and Beijing's new Daxing International Airport (PKX) on 16 January 2020.

RAM flight AT230 operates as follows:

* Flights from Casablanca will be scheduled every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday at 17:00 p.m. local time.

* Flights from Beijing will be scheduled every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday at 13:55 p.m.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Sep 2017

Total posts 10

Slight correction: I meant RAM flights AT230 (CMN-PKX) and AT231 (PKX-CMN)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 118

I use them every now and then into Nouakchott, solid airline. Will be good to earn points on that flight at least. And for Star Alliance to finally have some competition in Africa

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 410

Their hub lounge at CMN is terrible. barely passable and thats the first class/premium lounge. If you fly with them and plan on being at the airport early to sample the lounge..don't! I flew Iberia in and Emirates out so cant comment on RAM. I have been told they are very average and J class isn't anything to write home about.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 118

I've never flown them long haul - usually Lisbon-Casablanca-Nouakchott, but always found them solid. Service is good, food is very good and the lounge is passable, though I don't know if there's a different lounge for different terminals.

Definitely nothing to write home about, but neither are most other airlines, and definitely not in Africa. RAM is competitive with Ethiopian and superior to SAA, the only two other serious airlines on the continent.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 98

Will be great to have a fourth One World option from Doha to Europe/North America.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2017

Total posts 73

Not sure how I can gain points or status credits when Royal Air Maroc website will not allow a QF FF number to be added to any booking.

The partnership begins on April 1 2020.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2017

Total posts 73

The booking is for May 2020. QF is not in the drop down lists of recognised programs on the website.

Maybe all bookings have to be "managed" after April 1 to retrospectively add details?

Correct: frequent flyer numbers can't be entered until after the airline joins the alliance, unless the airline makes separate arrangements. Best bet is to manage the booking after April 1 to add it in, or just provide the number at check-in.


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