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World Cup 2022: Morocco airline cancels special flights to Qatar ahead of semi-final

Royal Air Maroc apologises after pulling promotional trips to Doha, citing 'restrictions by Qatari authorities'
Morocco's supporters react as they watch the World Cup football match between Morocco and Portugal, at a coffee shop in Rabat on 10 December 2022 (AFP)
Morocco supporters watch the World Cup clash between Morocco and Portugal at a coffee shop in Rabat, on 10 December 2022 (AFP)

Morocco’s national carrier has cancelled all flights scheduled to carry its fans to the World Cup semi-final in Qatar on Wednesday. 

Royal Air Maroc announced earlier this week that it had organised 30 special flights scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday from Casablanca to Doha, ahead of Morocco’s match with France

Return flights had been offered at a promotional rate of 5,000 Moroccan dirhams ($472). But the airline pulled the trips scheduled for Wednesday, citing “restrictions” imposed by Doha. 

"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," it said in a statement. 

Qatari authorities and Qatar Airways did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Only seven flights took off on Tuesday, with a source at a Royal Air Maroc travel agency telling Reuters that 14 - not 30 - had been scheduled in total. The airline apologised to customers and said that it would reimburse airfares. 

Morocco sealed a stunning 1-0 win over Portugal on Saturday, becoming the first African and Arab side to reach a World Cup semi-final.

Youssef En-Nesyri got the only goal in the 43rd minute, with an impeccably timed leap to send a thumping header home.

The semi-final against France, who defeated England on Saturday, will take place at Al-Bayt stadium in Al-Khor, north of Doha, on Wednesday evening. 

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