Royal Air Maroc to join Oneworld airline alliance, giving group a foothold in Africa Express News

Fire engines give a water salute to welcome the Royal Air Maroc airliner carrying Morocco's national football team as it arrives at the Voronezh Airport for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. 

Kristina Brazhnikova | TASS | Getty Images

Fire engines give a water salute to welcome the Royal Air Maroc airliner carrying Morocco’s national football team as it arrives at the Voronezh Airport for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. 

The Oneworld global airline alliance that includes American Airlines and British Airways, said Wednesday that it is bringing in Royal Air Maroc, giving the group a partner in Africa after other carriers on the continent expanded.

Such alliances allow carriers to book travelers on each others’ routes, giving them access to other markets. They also allow travelers to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles on each others’ flights.

Royal Air Maroc, the flag carrier of Morocco, has a fleet of 55 planes and serves 94 destinations — tiny compared with several of the Oneworld members. Its addition, however, gives the alliance a foothold in Africa, where other airlines have aligned with its competitors and are expanding. Ethiopian Airlines, for instance, is part of the Star Alliance along with United Airlines. Kenya Airways has worked with Delta Air Lines in the SkyTeam and expanded into the U.S. in recent years.

Royal Air Maroc’s membership will likely take effect in mid-2020, Oneworld said. Other members of the group include Iberia, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Latam.

Airlines around the world in recent years have been fostering stronger partnerships with other airlines as they seek to expand but face strong foreign ownership limits or cost constraints to growing in other regions. Carriers including the biggest three U.S. airlines — Delta, United and American — have been pursuing additional joint ventures that allow them to coordinate schedules and share revenue with foreign carriers.

Last week, for example, United said it reached a deal for a joint venture with Colombia’s Avianca Holdings and Panama-based Copa Holdings.

The new addition to Oneworld comes after alliance member Qatar Airways threatened in October to leave the group.

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