North African carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is to increase the frequency of its route between Casablanca and London Gatwick from the start of the forthcoming winter season. The three times weekly schedule will be increased to a daily operation and will complement its existing daily flight on the city pair into Heathrow and will complement the four times weekly service it offers between Marrakech and London Gatwick.
RAM introduced the route in December 2009 but will offer a daily rotation between Casablanca and London Gatwick from October 26, 2014 using a Boeing 737-800, boosting its direct flights between Morocco and the UK to 20 per week. The flight departs Casablanca in the late morning with a mid-afternoon departure from London. Its existing London service leaves Casablanca in the early afternoon and returns from Heathrow in the early evening.
Alongside the point-to-point market, the expanded frequency will provide better connection options for travelers from the UK to a range of markets across West Africa, including Abidjan, Abuja, Cape Verde, Libreville, Malabo, Niamey, N’Djamena, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou and Yaoundé.
RAM has for a long time held the dominant position in the market between Morocco and the UK and as recent as 2004 had a 42.5 per cent share of the bi-directional O&D passengers in this market. However, the arrival of new competition and especially low-cost operators such as easyJet and Ryanair meant its share declined to just 8.7 per cent in 2007.
A growth in capacity helped boost this again to 18.8 per cent in 2011 but the North African carrier’s position declined once again in 2012 and 2013 despite its capacity offering last year being higher than any other previous year and the reason why the carrier is looking to use its strong network at Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport to offer connection options into other parts of Africa.
In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at O&D demand between Morocco and the UK over the past decade and look at the largest carriers in this market. UK low-fare carrier easyJet, which made its debut in the North African market in 2006 is the largest operator with a 47.2 per cent demand share in 2013, up from 41.6 per cent in 2012.