North African carrier, Royal Air Maroc sits comfortably as the number one airline in the continent with a nonstop flight between Africa and the Americas.
The airline’s North America operations totalled 8% of international seat capacity 2019.
According to anna.aero, the carrier’s US and Canada capacity has grown significantly, with seats up by 27% YOY and by 90% since 2015.
This was predominately from the arrival of Casablanca to Washington Dulles in 2016 and both Boston and Miami last year.
Royal Air Maroc was the number-one operator between Africa and the US and Canada by non-stop seats in 2019, OAG schedules data indicates.
Given Ethiopian Airlines’ one-stop transatlantic services westbound because of Addis Ababa’s hot-and-high performance-limiting situation, Royal Air Maroc slips to number-two for all seats.
Montreal; Royal Air Maroc’s second-largest North American destination
Royal Air Maroc’s North America network comprises of five destinations: Boston; Miami; Montreal; New York JFK; and Washington Dulles.
Montreal’s dominance necessarily diminished from around 50% in the first half of the current decade to one-third last year.
Yet the Canadian city – the carrier’s only destination in Canada, primarily from the French connection – is still its second-largest in North America, after New York JFK.
It is this relationship that resulted in Air Canada also beginning Montreal – Casablanca in 2016, its first African route. It did not really get ‘going’ until 2018, however.
Montreal #1 for total local passengers
Royal Air Maroc had 240,420 two-way seats between Casablanca and Montreal last year, up to 12% YOY.
Montreal has big summer seasonality, with its pre-coronavirus August 2019 seats 2.2x greater than its February offering. Last summer, Royal Air Maroc operated 10x weekly to Montreal: seven-weekly by the 412-seat B777-300ER (leased from Qatar Airways) and three by its own 274-seat B787-8.
OAG Traffic Analyser, using MIDT booking data, estimates that it had 199,883 passengers last year, making a seat load factor of 83% – more than its system-wide average.
Of the airline’s total North American network, Montreal had the joint second-highest percentage of local passengers to those connecting, at an estimated 53%.
In contrast, New York JFK was ~41% local, from its traffic over Casablanca, over JFK, and bridging both airports.
Currently, Royal Air Maroc’s passengers over JFK are mainly with codeshare partner JetBlue. Despite Royal Air Maroc joining Oneworld earlier this year, it’s unlikely that much traffic will be with American to/from JFK, even if American’s planned Philadelphia – Casablanca doesn’t happen next year.
Most importantly, Montreal had by far the highest absolute local traffic, at almost 106,000. This also explains Air Canada and ultimately the underpinning French relationship.
North America and Latin America traffic over Montreal to Casablanca and bridging the Canadian and Moroccan cities amounted to just ~2% of the airline’s passengers last year. This contrasts with ~15% on its JFK service.
Montreal – Casablanca: the French Connection
It is estimated that over 90,000 passengers – or 45% – connected with Royal Air Maroc over Casablanca from the Quebec airport.
Royal Air Maroc was the leading operator between Montreal and North and West Africa last year, MIDT booking data via OAG shows.
While it is entirely unsurprising given the airline’s network, the importance of the French connection is clear here, too, from both the top airport-level and country-level O&Ds.
Tunis was the carrier’s top O&D, with 13% of connecting passengers. The airline was the leading indirect operator on this airport-pair last year.
Cairo, Dakar, Beirut, Abidjan, and Algiers were also in the top-10. But VFR traffic is, of course, normally the lowest of the low yield-wise.
Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt were its top countries. Interestingly, Spain was fifth, with ~13,000 passengers using Royal Air Maroc to/from Europe last year.