North African carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is to further expand its long-haul network from next year with the launch of flights between its Mohammed V International Airport hub in Casablanca and Washington Dulles Airport in the United States and Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão International Airport in Brazil.
The Moroccan flag carrier plans to introduce Washington as its second destination in the United States (after New York) and third in North America (also including Montreal, Canada) from the autumn of next year. This past weekend it has opened reservations for a three times weekly link from September 8, 2016 to be flown using Boeing 787-8 equipment.
According to schedule data from OAG, this will be the only non-stop link between North Africa and Washington and will not only serve the point-to-point demand but also markets across Morocco, North Africa and the rest of the Continent thanks to RAM’s network from its Casablanca hub.
More than 20,000 passengers a year are flying between Morocco and Washington, a market that has grown for the last three consecutive years. With its historical links with Morocco, it is not surprising that French national carrier Air France is the dominant carrier in this market with a 71.7 per cent share of the O&D demand in 2014.
RAM will offer a more convenient non-stop offering while also stimulating the market further. It will also aid connectivity between other parts of the African continent and Washington, with the new service offering the fastest connection to a number of markets. It will be one of only the three airlines to offer a current direct connection into Washington from Africa adding to the flights of Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa, South African Airways from Accra, Dakar and Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, the new Rio de Janeiro service will be added to the carrier’s existing flights into Brazil on a triangle routing alongside Sao Paulo. With effect from May 2, 2016, RAM will operate a twice weekly Casablanca – Sao Paulo – Rio de Janeiro – Casablanca routing and a single weekly Casablanca – Rio de Janeiro – Sao Paulo – Casablanca offering. From September 11, 2016 the second routing will get an additional weekly frequency boosting the overall schedule to Brazil to four times weekly, all flown using Boeing 767-300ER equipment.
RAM is currently the only airline to offer flights between Morocco and Brazil having introduced flights between Casablanca and Sao Paulo in November 2013. Its launch of the direct route helped grow O&D demand between the two countries from around 8,000 annual passengers in 2012 to almost 15,000 in 2013 and over 21,000 last year.