Morocco-Israel: The launch of air links will take more time than expected

Par ediallo - 13 January, 2021 - 18:19

Announced by Nadia Fettah for February or March, the start of air rotations between Mohammed V and Ben Gourion airports will not take place until at least April. According to a reliable source, this is due to the delay in the signing of the air agreement between Morocco and Israel as well as to the health situation of the 2 countries which are preparing to vaccinate their population.

After the visit of an American-Israeli delegation to Morocco, a press release from the royal cabinet had announced imminent measures to allow airlines to open links between the two countries to transport Israeli tourists and members of the Moroccan Jewish community.

In the end, despite the optimism displayed by the Minister of Air Transport and by several Israeli newspapers which were counting on the start of air traffic between the two countries for the months of February or March, Médias24 learns that the administrative conditions have not yet been fulfilled.

The preliminary administrative procedure has still not been completed

Indeed, after having contacted, in vain, our interlocutors at the Ministry of Air Transport and at the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, a reliable source tells us that there has not yet been an aviation agreement signed between the aviation authorities of the two countries, a prerequisite for the launch of the flights.

"To date, as no communiqué from the supervisory public authorities (Ministry of Air Transport and DGAC) mentioning an agreement has been published, there can be no Morocco-Israel links.

The line has no chance of being inaugurated on 16 January

"Without this necessary precondition, the RAM will not be able to launch commercial flights between Casablanca and Tel Aviv airports on 16 January, as part of the press has said.

"Knowing that there has not yet been an agreement duly formalised by the Moroccan and Israeli governments, and even less a protocol validated by the two respective authorities in charge of civil aviation, no one is in a position to announce a date or the number of frequencies.

The same applies to the price of the ticket, which can only be determined at the end of the current market study.

"Considering the distance between the two countries, which requires nearly six hours of flight time, the only certainty at present is that the connections will be well assured by long-haul Boeing Dreamliner aircraft," says our interlocutor, who says he is surprised to learn that the information is unfounded.

Faced with our insistence on knowing how long the governmental and administrative validation procedure should last, our interlocutor advances that it will depend on the requirements on both sides, namely from State to State and from Moroccan civil aviation to Israeli civil aviation.

While waiting for the signature of an agreement, the companies are looking for partners on the spot

"While waiting for the agreement to be finalised and finally signed, the Israeli (El Al Israel and Isair) and national (RAM) airlines are looking for partners (handling, freight, security) to be able to operationalise their future flights to the two airports of Casablanca and Tel Aviv.

"If with the confinement in Israel and its vaccination campaign underway, it is difficult to speculate on a launch date, it could however go very quickly," our source concludes optimistically.

In the end, if this postponement can disappoint the companies affected by the health crisis, it is preferable to wait for the end of the vaccination campaign, which should be completed next March in Israel and will soon begin in Morocco, before tackling a potential market of 200,000 passengers.

Samir El Ouardighi