Morocco resumes flights as of 15 June

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to cancel 'Operation Crossing the Straits' for the second consecutive year
Boeing 737 Royal Air Maroc

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Boeing 737 Royal Air Maroc

The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the resumption of flights in the Kingdom from 15 June. The Moroccan government has opted to impose more lax measures in view of the decrease in cases of COVID-19, however, the flights "will be carried out under exceptional authorisations" given that "the Kingdom's airspace is still closed", the authorities indicate.

Rabat, which is aiming to achieve a collective immunity of 80 per cent of the population, launched a massive vaccination campaign in January. So far, 6 million people in Morocco have been vaccinated with doses of the Chinese Sinopharm and British AstraZeneca vaccines. In view of the favourable epidemiological situation, the authorities are proposing a gradual reopening to allow the arrival of visitors for the summer period.

In order to undertake the opening, the Moroccan authorities have classified the countries into two lists according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data. List 'A' lists those countries that have kept the incidence of the virus under control and are registering positive indicators, "in particular with the spread of variants". 

El aeropuerto internacional Mohamed V en Casablanca, Marruecos
PHOTO/AP - The Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, Morocco

Travellers from these countries, whether Moroccan nationals or foreigners established in Morocco, citizens of these countries or foreigners residing in them, will be able to enter the Kingdom of Morocco if they have a vaccination certificate or, where applicable, a negative PCR test result at least 48 hours before entering Moroccan territory.

List 'B' contains all those countries experiencing "a dispersion of variants or the absence of precise statistics", according to the authorities. Travellers from countries on this list must obtain exceptional authorisations before travelling, present a negative PCR test within 48 hours of entering the national territory and, ultimately, undergo a 10-day isolation period. 

Pasajeros y equipaje son revisados para viajar en el Aeropuerto Internacional Mohamed V en Casablanca, Marruecos
PHOTO/AP - Passengers and luggage are checked for travel at Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, Morocco.

The Moroccan government added that the 'A' and 'B' lists will be published regularly on the websites of the ministries responsible for Foreign Affairs, Health and Tourism. In addition, both lists will be updated regularly, at least twice a month, in principle. For the time being, some of the countries on the 'B' list are Algeria, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Rabat decided in January to close its airspace in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and its new variants. For this reason, the airline Royal Air Maroc (RAM) only flies to four African countries, including Mauritania, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Tunisia, and two American countries, the United States and Canada.

Rabat has also announced that for the second consecutive year it will suspend transfers from Spanish ports to Morocco. However, it will allow the arrival of boats from France and Italy as long as visitors undergo a double PCR. Therefore, only the French port of Sète and the Italian port of Genoa will be authorised for the arrival of travellers from European territory.

El aeropuerto internacional Mohamed V de Casablanca, Marruecos
PHOTO/AP - The Mohammed V international airport in Casablanca, Morocco

"The Marhaba 2021 operation will be carried out from the same maritime transit points as last year. "In addition to the PCR test presented at embarkation, travellers will undergo another test on board to ensure maximum health security for them and their loved ones," the Moroccan government stressed in the communiqué. 

This situation coincides with the bilateral crisis following the hospitalisation of Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali in Logroño last April.