The Abraham Accords have led to another historic agreement, this time between Israel and Morocco. The latest peace agreement has tremendous implications for El Al and Royal Air Maroc.
El AL + Royal Air Maroc Plan Nonstop Service Between Nations
Morocco has announced it will recognize Israel and establish diplomatic relations. As part of the U.S.-brokered agreement, the two nations will commence nonstop flights in 2021. The agreement is predicated on United States recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region.
Already, El Al has announced plans to start daily flights between Tel Aviv and Casablanca:
The company welcomes the historic announcement and will begin preparing for direct flights to Casablanca subject to obtaining all the required approvals from the various authorities. The company has been checking out the economic feasibility and operational implementation of operating direct flights to Morocco, which is expected to be very popular with Israeli customers.
According to Globes, El AL will utilize a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for the five-hour journey. Israir Airlines has also indicated it intends to establish up to 20 weekly flights.
Meanwhile, Royal Air Maroc also plans to launch flights between Morocco and Israel, though it is has not made clear yet either aircraft or frequency of service.
The diplomatic breakthrough may be attributed to the USA, but officials from Royal Air Maroc and El Al met in Morocco in 2019 in an attempt to forge greater ties and start air service between nations. It failed then, but will now come to fruition.
More broadly, Israel and Morocco have communicated via backchannels for decades. Prior to 1948, Jews were thought to number over 250,000 in Morocco, the largest diaspora in the Arab world. Today, only about 3,000 are estimated to remain.
As many as 150,000 Israelis are expected to travel to Morocco in 2021. Already, tens of thousands do each year, but must fly indirectly and arrange special visas. Similarly, an influx of Moroccan tourists are expected in Israel with eased visa regulations.
The latest peace deal between Morocco and Israel will lead to direct air service between nations on El Al, Israir, and Royal Air Maroc. Flights are expected to being as early as spring 2021.