MOROCCO – Etihad Airways, the second-largest airline and flag carrier of the UAE, has announced resumption of passenger flights to Morocco’s Casablanca city starting Saturday, September 19.

According to a report by Morocco World News, the Emirati carrier will operate three flights per week on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

The airline further revealed that it will resume flights to Rabat, Morocco’s capital and second largest city, at the end of October.

Etihad Airlines confirmed it will operate services two days per week to Rabat on Wednesdays and Fridays.

It however noted that travelers wishing to travel to Morocco must abide by the requirements of Moroccan authorities to enter the country, including taking a mandatory PCR test.

The relaunch of flights by Etihad follows a similar move by Emirates airline, UAE’s largest flag carrier, which has already resumed flights connecting Dubai to the Moroccan coastal city.

Morocco closed its borders to international travel in March to curb the spread of the corona virus pandemic which was spreading swiftly across nation, aided chiefly by air travel.

The border closure affected Morocco’s economy with the tourism sector being the biggest casuality.

Following the border closure, Morocco’s tourism receipts declined by 33.2% in the first six months of 2020, representing a loss of MAD 11.1 billion ($1.21 billion).

Morocco’s state media said reported that as a result of the pandemic 50% of all tourism jobs were lost while the country’s foreign exchange from tourism dropped by 60%.

To salve the country’s tourism sector, Morocco signed a project contract in August, bringing together public and private actors at national and regional levels in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

As containment measures bring the pandemic under control, Morocco has gradually opened its borders and skies to international travel, albeit with strict health measures to prevent a second wave of the virus.

The North African country has also decided to reopen borders for tourists from visa-exempt countries with confirmed hotel reservations, as well as for business people with an invitation from a Moroccan company.

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