High Flights Ticket Prices: Moroccan Ministry’s Tied Hands Limit Aid to Diaspora

High Flights Ticket Prices: Moroccan Ministry’s Tied Hands Limit Aid to Diaspora


The Moroccan Ministry of Transport and Logistics has responded to heightened concerns over inflated travel costs Moroccan expatriates encounter while commuting between Morocco and European nations, including North America, via both air and sea routes. This issue was brought to the fore by MP Malika Lahyan, who stressed the potential financial hardships that could impact expatriates during the peak summer holiday season.

Addressing this, the ministry said that direct price control is beyond its jurisdiction.

Royal Air Maroc airplane. Image for illustration purposes only. (Abderrahim Azara)

It pointed to the principles of supply and demand along with free market competition as the fundamental determinants of ticket pricing. This, they explained, restricts their capability for direct price intervention. The ministry also alluded to the Open Skies Agreement between Morocco and the European Union, an accord that minimizes regulatory authority over fares and advocates market liberalization.

The ministry accepted that this situation has negatively impacted the financial capacity of the Moroccan diaspora to travel back to their homeland, but it stressed that its hands are tied as it has no authority in regard to price control.

In the summer of 2021, the Moroccan monarch made a special request to Royal Air Maroc, the nation’s flag carrier, to provide exceptional fare discounts for the Moroccan diaspora. This prompted a competitive stir in the international market, leading competitors to file a complaint in the international court. The contention revolved around the uncompetitive pricing strategy of Royal Air Maroc that left them unable to compete due to the drastically reduced fares.

To sidestep potential legal repercussions, the Moroccan government took an unprecedented step: they decided to subsidize half of the ticket price. This action was designed to balance the reduced fares and maintain the competitiveness of the market, thus addressing the grievances raised by rival airline companies.

However, it is unlikely that the Moroccan government will take a similar move as the 2021 one was unexpected and had a significant impact on the budget.