Marrakesh flights grounded

What everyone was expecting has happened, that the Marrakesh flights by 'Your Flight' have come to an end, which raises questions of the extensive year-long market research which their Director Paul Lopez claimed to have undertaken which encouraged them to launch such a project. Flights to Morocco have failed before, but this factor was apparently not taken into account before this latest service was launched.

They now say that they have no other option but to discontinue the route from Gibraltar to Marrakech which was introduced in April 2014.

"It is unfortunate that current sales do not allow the route to be commercially viable," they said, when in fact they were effusing confidence and optimism before the project took off just a few months earlier.

About a month ago, PANORAMA publishd an exclusive report headed 'Half-empty aircraft on Marrakesh flights' which we backed with official statistical information. It was another Panorama Exclusive which, again, hit the nail on the head.

We reported at the time: Aircraft on the Marrakesh fights are flying at less than half-empty. Arrivals from Marrakesh for the month of April recorded only 97 seats used, that is, only 97 passengers carried.The following month 120 seats were used out of 210 seats on offer.

We also made the observation that "it must be difficult to operate profitably on such numbers of passengers."

In fact, we added, when it comes to departures to Marrakesh, only 92 seats were used in April out of a total of 210 seats on offer; and the following month the situation was almost the same, with just 93 passengers.

And made the point that it was known to us that payment was required in advance to charter the aircraft.

When announced earlier this year that Gibraltar to Marrakesh flights were to be introduced, Paul Lopez, described as 'Director of Your Flight' said: “We are confident that these new flights to Marrakesh will be a success and an added boost for Gibraltar’s tourism product, trade and businesses."

Not content with just Marrakesh, Your Flight was saying it was confident this would result in more opportunities to expand in the near future incorporating new destinations in Morocco such as Casablanca, Rabat and Agadir. Flights to Tangier were set to be introduced at the end of 2014/early 2015.

Wishful thinking?

TAXPAYERS EXPENSE

It is known that the Tourist Board provided them with help at taxpayers expense, but they have been reluctant to say just what. However, if one goes by past experience, airlines, their agents or whatever are helped out with marketing and with landing fees, for example.

We recently reported that many people would recall another Moroccan air programme which, when the help ran out, the flights ended.

First indication that all may not have been well surfaced in early June when the Marrakesh flight had some problem or other and some passengers ended up stranded, and had to be brought back through other means.

Let us hope this is not the beginning of the end, because we have seen so many flights to destinations other than the UK ending up in nothing, in other words much ado about nothing, said another report in PANORAMA.

It is to be hoped that this will no be the case on this occasion.

But the worst predictions ended up being true.

07-07-14 PANORAMAdailyGIBRALTAR



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