MOROCCO – The newly launched Casablanca-Beijing flight by Morocco’s national air carrier, Royal Air Maroc is expected to improve trade and diplomatic ties between the Maghreb country and its Asian counterpart.

A Royal Air Maroc plane has already made the first nonstop flight between Morocco and China, taking off from Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport on Thursday, January 16, at 5 pm, and landing at Beijing Daxing International Airport on Friday at 11:55 am (local time).

On board the 13-hour-long RAM flight to China was a large delegation of Moroccan and Chinese officials including RAM’s president, Hamid Addou, and the Director-General of the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT), Adel Al Fakir.

The delegation was received by Chinese officials led by Daxing International Airport’s vice-president, Kong Yu who ushered them to a reception organised in honor of the Moroccan delegation and in celebration of the inauguration of the new flight route.

Speaking at the ceremony, RAM’s president shared hopes that the direct flight between Casablanca and Beijing will help to strengthen the economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Relations between Morocco and China began to flourish after King Mohammed VI’s official visit to China in May 2016.

The signature of cooperation agreements during the visit ushered in a new phase in bilateral relations.

Human and cultural exchange has seen an exponential rise after the visit, with 350,000 Chinese tourists visiting Morocco in 2019, more than five times the number of Chinese tourists in 2016.

The RAM boss noted that the airline aims to increase the frequency of flights and open new routes to help promote Morocco as a destination for Chinese tourists.

The new air route will not only benefit Morocco and China but also the African continent, because Casablanca’s airport is a hub serving 32 destinations in Africa, explained Addou.

“It is a historic moment for Morocco and China to be linked for the first time through a nonstop flight,” he concluded.

Daxing Airport vice president on his part, stressed that Morocco’s geographic location makes it one of the most important tourist destinations in Africa.

The new flights will be operated by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner planes with a capacity of 302 passengers, including 26 business class seats.

RAM has scheduled six flights weekly, three in each direction.

Flights from Casablanca are set to take off every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday at 5 p.m. and arrive in Beijing at 11:55 a.m. the following day, local time.

Returning flights are scheduled every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday at 1:55 p.m., local time, and would arrive in Casablanca at 7:55 p.m., Moroccan time.

Daxing International Airport opened its doors in September 2019  and is the second-largest airport in the Chinese capital.