Morrocan flag carrier Royal Air Maroc said on Wednesday that it had been forced to cancel of all its scheduled services between Casablanca and Doha ahead of the historic semi-final match between Morocco and France at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The airline had previously announced that it planned to operate as many as 30 special flights to get as many Moroccan soccer fans to Qatar as possible ahead of the match on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday, Royal Air Maroc managed to operate 10 of the one-off flights to Doha, according to data supplied by the flight tracking website Flight Aware. All of the flights were operated by widebody jets, including Airbus A330s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
But on Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the airline said the national carrier had cancelled all remaining match day flights citing newly imposed restrictions by the Qatari authorities, according to a Reuters report.
Royal Air Maroc had leased aircraft from Spanish charter carrier Wamos Airlines, as well as using its own twin-aisle jets, and it appears that the airline had hoped to lease Qatar Airways aircraft as well.
“Following the latest restrictions imposed by the Qatari authorities, Royal Air Maroc regrets to inform customers of the cancellation of their flights operated by Qatar Airways,” the airline explained in a statement.
The national Moroccan football team made history on Sunday when they became the first African country to reach the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup after they beat Portugal 1-0.
Thousands of Moroccan fans had wanted to get to Qatar to cheer their team on at the Al-Bayt Stadium on Wednesday night but many will now be left disappointed.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.