DALLAS — Middle Eastern carrier Qatar Airways (QR) has announced the reopening of two new routes from Doha to Morocco following a major network expansion of the Qatari airline since the start of spring. Qatar Airways will now connect Casablanca (CMN) and Marrakech (RAK) many times weekly from June 30, 2023.
Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive at QR, stated, “The Qatar Airways’ flights to Casablanca and Marrakesh solidify our commitment to the Moroccan market and meet strong demand for connectivity to these two beautiful and historic cities. Connecting through our Hamad International Airport offers passengers an unparalleled 5-star travel experience to over 160 destinations and continues to grow and expand our network.”
Flights to Casablanca will depart from Doha at 09:15, landing at CMN six hours later at 15:10 as QR1397. Then, the same aircraft will take off at 16:30 making its way to its final destination, Marrakesh, at 17:25. The return flight, QR1398, will also stop via Casablanca on its way back to Doha. The airplane chosen for this route is the Boeing 787-8, the smallest widebody in QR’s fleet, seating 254 passengers in a two-class configuration.
By doing this, QR is able to connect two cities with medium demand using one single aircraft and thus reducing costs. It has not been confirmed, however, if the CMN-RAK leg will be sold separately following the 5th Freedom of Aviation.
This service from Doha to Casablanca and Marrakech will only be seasonal, ending operations on September 11, 2023. QR customers will still enjoy connectivity between Morocco and Qatar however, thanks to the regular codeshare flight operated by Royal Air Maroc (AT).
New Routes Impulsed by Sport
During the last weeks, QR has benefited widely from its condition as a large sports host to enlarge its presence as one of the main carriers connecting Europe and Africa with Asia. Qatar, the carrier’s home country, has not only been the host of the FIFA World Cup 2022 but now is also acting as the main sponsor of the Formula 1 World Championship, even celebrating one of the 23 Grand Prix in Lusail, between October 6 and 8, 2023.
Al Baker added, “The FIFA World Cup 2022 brought Qatar and Morocco together through football and bolstered our cultural and economic cohesion.” It could be one of the main reasons that travel demand for connecting these two countries has risen over the past few months enough to invite QR to open this route.
Along with the reopening of flights to CMN and RAK, QR has also announced the relaunch of direct flights from Doha to Birmingham (BHX), coinciding with the celebration of the British F1 Grand Prix in Silverstone. This service is also operated by Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
Featured image: The Boeing 787-8 is the smallest widebody in Qatar Airways’ fleet. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways