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Royal Air Maroc is joining the Oneworld alliance, the airline said in a press conference Wednesday.

The Moroccan flag carrier will be the first full member airline to join the group in six years. It will be implemented into the alliance beginning in mid-2020 and is currently a “member elect.”

Oneworld is one of three major global airline alliances, or a group of international airlines that coordinate their networks and frequent flyer programs, resulting in the ability to earn and spend miles all across their global networks, a huge convenience for passengers.

Oneworld’s founding members include American Airlines and British Airways. It now has a total of 14 member airlines, including Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and Royal Air Maroc (RAM). Among the other two airline alliances are Star Alliance, which has 27 members and is helmed by United and Lufthansa, and SkyTeam, which counts Delta and Air France among its 20 members.

With its addition to Oneworld in 2020, passengers can earn and redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles, British Airways Avios or any of the rewards miles among the 14 airlines’ programs in the cooperating group. But, those benefits will not fall into place until 2020.

Royal Air Maroc’s frequent flyer program, Safar Flyer, has more than 1 million members. RAM’s regional subsidiary airline, Royal Air Maroc Express will also be joining Oneworld as an affiliate member.

RAM has never been a member of an airline alliance, but it has a robust network of flight routes in West Africa, hence its appeal for Oneworld, which previously had no members in the rapidly growing African aviation market. With a modern fleet of Boeing 787-8s, the Casablanca-based airline also operates flights to New York (JFK) and has North American routes to Washington, DC (IAD) and Montreal (YUL). The North African carrier says it is adding routes to Miami (MIA) in April and Boston (BOS) in July. The carrier also has four 787-9s on order.

Screengrab from Royal Air Maroc
Screen grab from Royal Air Maroc’s site.

Back in May, TPG‘s Jessica Rovniak flew on Royal Air Maroc’s Dreamliner from New York (JFK) to Casablanca (CMN) in economy. She found that “the food was decent and the service pleasant enough. However, the airline could improve its IFE system and work to better structure its boarding process.”

Though RAM doesn’t join Oneworld until 2020, at the current AAdvantage Oneworld award chart levels, you’d pay 75,000 miles one-way in business class from the contiguous 48 states to Africa or 40,000 one-way in economy.

TPG managing editor Alberto Riva speculated last week that RAM would be joining the alliance due to the suspicious timing of a visit of the airline’s CEO Abdelhamid Addou to New York, overlapping with the time and place of a meeting of Oneworld’s governing board.

Featured image by Patrick Becker/ullstein bild via Getty Images.

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