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The Oneworld airline alliance may be about to gain a new member.

The chief executive of Moroccan flag carrier Royal Air Maroc, Abdelhamid Addou, will be in New York for an event on Dec. 5, according to an emailed invitation from the airline — the same day that the Oneworld alliance holds a meeting of its governing board in the city. Neither the airline nor the alliance have issued any statements, but the CEO’s presence in New York is a strong hint that the African airline may be about to join.

Oneworld, whose founding members include American Airlines and British Airways, is one of the three airline alliances that dominate the air transport world. Alliances typically coordinate their frequent flyer programs, resulting in the ability to earn and spend miles all across their global networks, a huge convenience for passengers.

27-airline Star Alliance, headed by United and Lufthansa, is the world’s biggest by number of members. SkyTeam, which includes Delta and Air France, has 20 members. Oneworld has 13, but it includes the largest airline in the world by passengers carried, American.

Royal Air Maroc, also know by the acronym RAM, serves New York JFK and two other destinations in North America — Washington and Montreal — with a modern fleet of Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. Miami will be added next April and Boston in July, according to the airline.

Next month RAM will introduce its first stretched 787-9, beginning Dec. 21 from JFK, which will add more seats compared to the -8 model. RAM’s Dreamliners are configured in a 2-2-2 business-class layout; TPG has reviewed the airline’s offering on the 787 both in business and economy.

The airline’s appeal for Oneworld, which has no members in fast-growing Africa, might lie chiefly in its West African network, served with a relatively big fleet of 37 Boeing 737s. The airline’s route map highlights RAM’s presence in West Africa, from its hub in Casablanca (CMN).

Screen grab from Royal Air Maroc site
Screen grab from Royal Air Maroc site.

Royal Air Maroc flights are currently bookable with Etihad miles and Iberia Avios. If indeed the airline joins Oneworld, you could earn and redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles seamlessly on it.

Chief executive Addou has been leading the airline since 2016, when he was appointed by King Mohamed VI. Royal Air Maroc is majority owned by the Moroccan government, which holds close to 96% of the shares. Oneworld member Iberia has 0.95%, and Air France around 2.85% — the Air France stake could end up being sold if RAM joins Oneworld, since the French airline is a leading member of rival alliance SkyTeam.

Featured image by Michael Spelfogel/TPG

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