Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ryanair to Cancel Morocco Flights

Low-cost airline Ryanair announces it will axe 30 routes between Morocco and Europe from April 1, 2014
The decision to cancel 30 flights between Morocco and Europe was made due to the Moroccan government's intention to tax airline tickets. The new airline tax will apply to "all movements from Morocco" and will add 100 dirhams to economy class tickets and 400 dirhams for first or business class. It comes into force on April 1, 2014. The aim of the new tax is to help the tourism sector, including funding the activities of the Moroccan National Tourist Office.

The announcement was made last Thursday via a press release from Ryanair and ran in the French newspaper Sud Ouest and a number of online sites.

The cancellation of flights to Fez, which is one of Ryanair's hubs in Morocco, is likely to hit tourism in the city particularly hard as the airline is one of the few offering direct flights to Europe. A new terminal is currently under construction at Fez airport to service the flights.

Riad managers and owners are deeply dismayed by the prospect. Vanessa Bonnin, who manages the riad and restaurant Dar Roumana in Fez said, " Tourism in Morocco was just getting back on its feet after the financial crisis and the Arab Spring. When the Moroccan government does things like this, it's us that gets caught in the middle between the airlines and the government. It seems counterproductive when the intention should be to encourage people to come to Morocco."

Ms Bonnin pointed out that Ryanair have done this before, when low-cost airlines cancelled flights to Morocco for several months in 2012, following a dispute over increased airport charges. "Ryanair pulls out and the government eventually capitulates," she said. "But in the meantime, we all lose out. The last time this happened, we lost 50% of our business for several months. A large part of our business is guests who come from the UK on the Ryanair flight on Thursday and return on Sunday...Fez is still a developing destination, and this feels like a kick in the teeth."

To see our previous story on the new airline tax, CLICK HERE.

To see our story about the 2012 crisis with Ryanair and other low-cost airlines, CLICK HERE. 

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Abd Rahman said...

The medina relies upon tourist to
feed their families and pay for
medical care for their sick. I
have family selling to tourist in
the medina who can go for days
without selling anything. Another
family member earns 1500 dirham
per month working as a Taylor but
only when there are tourist My
wife cries because her other
family members cannot afford
fruit, costing a few dirham per kilo, to give to their children.
Tourists are the life blood of
many of the poor in the medina.
The Moroccan government should put
a tax on the expensive Riads,
owned by foreigners, who charge
more for one nights accommodation
than some medina people earn in a
month or more. The crisis of the
poor in the medina sickens me. Is
there anything we richer foreign,
Fessi, residents can do to
alleviate their wretched lives or
are we more interested in Donkey sanctuaries and the latest art/film
/musical festival in Fes??

Xmas wishes - Abd Rahman

Anonymous said...

Incredibly wrong, this will destroy the tourism completely


Does anyone know where i can find more information on this cancellation of the Ryanair service? i can't see anything else online about it.

I am from the UK and will be staying in Fez with my boyfriend for 6 months from January 2014 while he studies Arabic, and we were hoping to have family and friends come and visit us during our stay.

I would love to invite more people to visit the city as i love it very much, but if they cannot fly cheaply they will not be able to come. We will not be able to afford the more expensive flights.

I really hope Ryanair will change their mind about this.

Anonymous said...

Abd Rahman I agree with your sentiments but your facts are wrong. The most expensive riads in the medina (Riad Fes, Palais Faraj and Riad Maison Bleue for example) are owned by Moroccans, not foreigners. And riads already pay taxes on everything they earn to the government, plus tourist taxes. Also the high nightly rate riads charge is because they are offering high quality accommodation and services, which in turn attracts wealthier tourists who then spend more money in the medina, which benefits everybody. Also the overheads for running, maintaining and staffing these type of riads are very high, so they need to charge a lot to cover their costs. Riad owners are already helping those who live in the medina by creating jobs and personally, I give money to everyone who knocks on our door asking for help, especially with medical bills, as the government does not provide free health care like the UK and France.

Driss said...

Abd Rahman, the riads assist, not hinder. There are very few foreign people in the Medina, as a percentage it is very small. They not only help save the houses, pay tax and create jobs, they add to the cultural diversity. Also there is no conflict between charity for the poor, assisting the wonderful American Fonduk for the animals and music festivals which brings tourists. I pray and give thanks for the people in the Medina who have a generous spirit