Following the signing of several agreements, Royal Air Maroc will increase the number of destinations on the Iberian Peninsula, both with Spain and Portugal. In an interview following an airline event in Madrid, RAM Vice President Amine El Farissi explains in more detail the different objectives, expectations and feelings of the company in the wake of the pandemic.
What are the airline's objectives with the implementation of these new routes you have announced?
The objective is very clear. We have been very affected by the pandemic from 2019 to 2021. It has been a very tough two years for us. We have been hit very hard. Now, after this tough period, we are trying to recover to try to recuperate and resume our development in certain markets, especially in the European, African and American markets. We lost 20 to 25% of our activity, and now we are trying to recover from this problem. So I think that after this summer in relation to a market like the Spanish market we hope to recover and to resume what we started three years ago. That is why we are relaunching new routes that will link Seville with Tangier and Casablanca, but also to serve many community economic agents in Tangier, as it is one of the most important transit destinations in Morocco. Another objective is to recover and reconnect with the Canary Islands, as Tenerife was a market in which we operated two years ago, and now we are back in this market, with the new Tenerife-Casablanca route. Today we consider the Spanish and Portuguese markets to be the same. These new routes are in line with the same trend we are trying to follow, that of opening new destinations such as Doha in Qatar, a new flight to Tel Aviv, to Dubai and to Luanda in Angola. For our part, this marks a new trend which is based on development and reconnection.
Does this mean that Morocco has modernised in the planning of airports with better infrastructures of very good quality and with more interest?
Casablanca is our main hub today and has been for more than 10 years in which we have been developing the airport to become a hub for our new alliance. Casablanca is the perfect hub due to its geographical position. It is a strategic position that allows easy connection between the north and the south, and between the east and the west. That is why the company can offer flights and enjoy routes linking the African continent with the rest, such as Montreal, Washington, New York or Miami in North America, serving as a bridge to the Middle East, Africa and, why not, Europe. In Casablanca today we are trying to have the best connectivity for our customers so we are offering the best connectivity for our 4 hours flights for our partners.
Are we seeing a new image of Morocco changing the uniforms, the designs, i.e. are we entering a new era?
During COVID, the big difference is that the customer was expecting something new, so our team at the head office was working hard to work on improving customer service and customer experience. As soon as we recovered from COVID, we introduced a new product, working on the whole chain, for example, we have new designs on the aircraft, we can see a new interior in the cabins and the uniforms of our workers and crew. We have new catering. We have renewed our image with the introduction of new wheels to improve the efficiency of the aircraft depending on the number of flight hours. In addition, we care about families, so we have implemented special promotions with better procedures to improve the stay once they have boarded. Among the improvements we have also implemented a system where the customer can choose the seat he/she wants to travel in and change it at the last moment.
Royal Air Maroc is now imagining the modern Morocco of the future in the international strategy, the strategy of tomorrow, from Atalayar we believe that very good results have been obtained in all sectors such as political, diplomatic, economic and tourism.
For RAM, the first mission today is to accompany Morocco's economic and tourism development. That is why we are trying to resume our development, the opening of new destinations, the resumption of flights to other destinations stopped during the COVID time and also economically RAM today is the flag carrier for Morocco, because it is the national carrier and the main customers are from Moroccan communities living abroad through our hub in Casablanca. The second mission is also the economic one, because we have many corporate passengers who use our flights, who connect with Africa, who connect with North America, with the Middle East, and we are here to be with them and offer them the best conditions through the contracts and agreements signed with them, but also with the products we offer.
And with Spain, what is your objective? Spain normally brings a lot of Spanish tourists to Morocco where they enjoy what the country has to offer. Now the political situation is better, so do you think the atmosphere is better for RAM or for Spaniards flying to Morocco?
I think the best example for that is to look at what is happening now. We have put a lot of capacity in the Spanish market. From Barcelona, from Madrid, we have a double frequency, we have the opening of new gateways to Seville, Malaga, Tenerife, Las Palmas, and our flights are doing well. This means that there is potential, and the potential is great because, first of all, Spaniards want to know Morocco. They travel, they love Morocco, they travel a lot to Morocco. And, secondly, because of the companies that want to invest in Morocco and vice versa, several Moroccan companies are investing in Spain. So there is this traffic between Spain and Morocco and we are experiencing a certain increase in the numbers of this traffic.