Last Wednesday Royal Air Maroc (RAM), Morocco's national airline started direct flights from Casablanca to Doha. After signing the new partnership deal Qatar Airways (QA) says it is now considering buying a stake in the Moroccan company
On Thursday, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, said Qatar Airways is evaluating the case for buying a stake in the Moroccan airline to help it extend its reach into the under-served travel markets of West Africa and the Sahara.
“We’ll evaluate if we can be a partner, a stakeholder, in Royal Air Maroc in the future,” Akbar Al Baker was quoted as saying by the Bloomberg website. “Qatar Airways is always open to investing in airlines with strong synergy,” he concluded.
Akbar Al Baker made the statement during a press conference in Doha to welcome the first direct flight of (RAM) to Doha, as part of the code sharing partnership between the two careers to mutually benefit from seamless service between Qatar and North African market.
Through the new partnership signed between the two companies, QA will gain access to around 40 new destinations in western African region. Being as one of the fastest growing markets, the African market is expected to grow at a rate of 6.6 percent annually.
At present RAM’s network offers links to 40 African destinations, with Qatar Air promoting the Moroccan cities of Agadir and Marrakech, as well as Dakar in Senegal, Accra in Ghana and Nouakchott in Mauritania, as attractive connections. Al Baker said he’d also like to start flights from Doha to Marrakech through the code-share with RAM.
Royal Air Maroc CEO Driss Benhima said separately in an interview at the Doha event that he’s studying an Airbus Group SE A380 purchase to replace Boeing Co.’s 747. The superjumbo would be deployed on trips including the Haj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. RAM aims to expand its total fleet to 105 planes by 2029 from 53 currently, and will issue a tender for narrow-body jets that could include the Airbus A320Neo and A321 and Boeing 737 Max, as well as some freighters, by end of 2015.
RAM’s maiden direct flight to Doha included a Moroccan delegation who are visiting Qatar in order to hold discussion with the Qatari airline officials.
Under the newly signed partnership, RAM and QA will operate three and 10 flights a week respectively between Casablanca and Doha.
At a press conference attended by the Moroccan delegation, Morocco’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, Aziz Rabbah said, “This venture will go a long way in strengthening cultural, economic and social relations between the two countries.”