By Victor Shalton
AirBaltic and Air France Launch flights to Morocco
AirBaltic now connects the Baltic countries with Africa — the world’s second-largest continent — through its first flight to Marrakesh, Morocco’s Menara Airport, operating on the morning of Oct. 31. The airline expects increased travel activity for leisure travelers between the Baltic states and Morocco with the new route now offering a great gateway to the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert — which has plenty of places of interest.
Flights between Riga, Latvia and Marrakesh, Morocco will operate twice a week and will be operated by the carrier’s flagship aircraft the Airbus A220-300 aircraft. The new route marks the airline’s official entry into the African market, bringing the total number of destinations served by the Baltic carrier to 50 destinations.
The inaugural celebration was attended by the airline and airport executives. The airline hopes this will be the first of many routes it opens to the African continent, as it continues to expand its route network offering to leisure travelers ,who will have access to more exotic destinations.
The Chief Operation Officer of airBaltic, Pauls Cālītis, shared the company’s excitement for the new route and anticipation of steady demand for the route throughout the winter.
Cālītis said, “We are excited to launch our first-ever scheduled route to Africa. Marrakesh or the so-called Pearl of the South is both an exotic and warm destination and an important center of economics, also for Latvia. Moreover, it has plenty to offer for culture lovers as well. As the leading airline in the Baltics, we continue to build our network, adding more captivating leisure destinations also for the winter season.”
Passengers looking to travel between Riga, Latvia and Marrakech, Morocco can expect the flight to take 5 hours and 30 minutes. Additionally, it will be one of the longest operated on the Airbus A220-300 aircraft.
Meanwhile, on Oct. 30, Air France relaunched a route between Paris’ Orly Airport and Casablanca, Morocco after eight years of absence between the two airports, in addition to its departures from Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport.
The French flag carrier will now offer a daily flight between its base in Paris’ Orly airport and Casablanca, Morroco’s Mohammed V airport. The flight is operated on an Airbus A320 that can accommodate 18 passengers in Business Class and 160 in Economy. Departures are scheduled at 15:00 to arrive at 18:05 and return flights leaving Morocco at 19:05 to land at 22:05.
Air France — which had offered this route until March 2014 — is in direct competition with Royal Air Maroc, its low-cost subsidiary Transavia France and TUI Fly Belgium.
At the moment, the SkyTeam alliance airline currently offers four daily flights between Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport and Casablanca, in addition to Transavia’s daily rotation. Air France also serves Marrakech, Morocco and Rabat, Morocco from Charles De Gaulle Airport.