Morocco’s national airline, Royal Air Maroc (RAM), has confirmed that it will keep up regular flights to the three countries worst hit by the Ebola outbreak. A gesture that is believed to reinforce Morocco’s stance in Africa through the RAM confirming its adherence to its African routes. So, despite all, Royal Air Maroc to maintain service to Ebola-hit countries
While many African governments have sought to effectively quarantine Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, RAM has said it will carry on its regular scheduled flight to these destinations in “solidarity” with the affected nations. After Air France and British Airways announced they would stop flying to affected areas, this leaves Morocco as the only country offering a regular service into these countries. Brussels Airlines currently offers an irregular schedule.
As an indicator of the “solidarity” behind the decision, RAM has revealed that its flights to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are no more than 10 per cent full, and are making no profits. A spokesman has provided reassurance that all health precautions are being taken on the flights to and from the affected areas.
The Ebola virus outbreak has killed more than 1500 people across West Africa, and has now also spread to Senegal and Nigeria. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it is “absolutely vital” that airlines continue flying to affected areas, because their bans on flights are now standing in the way of the emergency response.
“Right now, there is a super risk of the response effort being choked off because we simply cannot get enough seats on enough airplanes to get people in and out, and get goods and suppliers in. We assume that the current restrictions on airlines will stop within the next couple of weeks. This is absolutely vital,” said WHO emergency chief Bruce Aylward.
Morocco is also showing “solidarity” in other ways beyond continuing flights. It is due to host the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2015, and ahead of this has agreed to stage a qualifying match between Guinea and Togo, which had to be switched because of the Ebola outbreak. King Mohammed also visited Guinea, Gabon, Ivory Coast and Mali during a tour in February and March.