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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
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
|New York (JFK), Washington, São Paulo, Miami
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.