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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Morocco Bans Flights From France As COVID Levels Rise

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Morocco has banned direct flights from France as COVID cases increase across the continent. France is only the latest in a series of flight bans that have seen much of Western Europe cut off from the North African nation. Let’s find out more.

Royal Air Maroc, Tel Aviv, Boeing 787-9
Royal Air Maroc aircraft won’t be seen in France’s airports for the foreseeable future. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Another one

Effective 11:59 PM on November 26th, Morocco has banned all direct flights from France. The country is tightening restrictions in response to a rise in COVID cases across Europe, hoping to prevent imported cases. The news has been confirmed by all airlines flying between the two countries, including Royal Air Maroc.

However, France is not being singled out by Moroccan authorities. Since last month, the country has restricted flights from COVID hotspots. Russia was the first to see flights banned on October 6th, followed by a flurry of restrictions on the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands. Today, the list has become just a little bigger.

Marrakech Airport Getty
Morocco has been proactive in blocking flights from countries that have high rates of cases or new variants. Photo: Getty Images

Passengers affected by the ban need to contact their respective airlines to discuss options. Refund and change policies vary across the board, so it’s best to check soon or after your flight has been canceled by the airline.

Big hit

Morocco is a major destination from France, with airlines serving nine destinations from Paris alone. Given its relative proximity (flights are around three hours) and popularity due to the vast population of the diaspora in France, low-cost carriers like Ryanair, easyJet, Vueling, and more can be found on the route. They compete with mainline airlines like Air France and Royal Air Maroc.

This makes the French-Moroccan market a particularly competitive one and one that airlines will definitely miss as long as the travel ban lasts. For now, expect to see hundreds of flights canceled in the coming days as the ban comes into effect in just over 24 hours.

Ryanair
Morocco is Ryanair’s only African destination and serves it due to its popularity among European travelers. Photo: Ryanair

For now, thousands of passengers are trying to make their way back to Morocco before the ban kicks in. At the time of writing, a one-way flight from Paris to Marrakech for November 26th costs at least $385, with tickets likely to sell out in the next few hours. If you’re looking to book, do so soon or try alternative connections.

Travel restrictions not gone yet

Just when travel begins to normalize, COVID-19 has thrown curveballs. While Morocco is only one example, there is more trouble brewing. Earlier today, the UK re-introduced the red list for six countries over fears of a new deadly COVID-19 variant. The new variant seems to have originated in Africa and may be able to evade vaccine protection.

Countries are moving quickly to shut their borders to their affected countries to prevent another plunge into lockdowns and travel bans. For now, COVID continues to be a reality of global travel.

What do you think about Morocco’s travel restrictions? Let us know in the comments!



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