Business Irish

Monday 19 February 2018

Ryanair to open bases in Morocco despite row

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

RYANAIR has confirmed it will open two bases in Morocco and add flights to numerous destinations from the country only months after a very public falling out between the airline and authorities there.

The budget carrier said it would start bases at the capital Marrakech and at Fez in the northeast of the country from April. The company will also start services from the other Moroccan cities Essaouira and Rabat.

They are the first bases Ryanair has set up outside Europe.

Setting up a base means the airline will operate flights from both cities while storing the planes used on site.

Up to now, the planes used to fly there have been based at another location.

In a statement, the carrier said it would base one aircraft at Fez and add four new routes to the 15 it already operates from there.

Two craft will be housed at Marrakech, and seven new routes will be added to the 22 already run out of there.

There are no direct Ryanair flights between Ireland and Morocco as it stands.

A Ryanair spokesman said the airline was "delighted" to have done the deal.

The move comes less than six months after Ryanair had a blazing row with Moroccan authorities over airport charges there.

In June, the airline said it was pulling 34 flights in and out of Morocco and accused the country's airports authority of "reneging on its agreement with the airline by imposing a new monopoly handling company" which "would have resulted in a massive increase in charges for the airline".

That now appears to have been resolved though. Ryanair currently has 55 bases around Europe.

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