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Three Royal Air Maroc Boeings caught while PlaneSpotting in Casablanca. Note the Mohammad V Airport sign in the background.
Three Royal Air Maroc Boeings caught while PlaneSpotting in Casablanca. Note the Mohammed V Airport sign atop the terminal in the background.

Last month I found myself with a full-day layover in Casablanca, Morocco. I was on my way to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire to cover Royal Air Maroc’s oneworld celebration. My flight from JFK arrived mid-morning and the ABJ flight wouldn’t depart until late evening. Armed with this knowledge, I had a jam-packed, prearranged agenda which included PlaneSpotting in Casablanca. For a relatively small airline like RAM, this was a chance to see all of the airline’s fleet types in the same place at the same time. Exciting!

PlaneSpotting in Casablanca, up close and air-side

A RAM 787-9.
CN-RGY, the 787-9 which brought me to Casablanca from New York

They take aviation security very seriously in Morocco, perhaps to an extreme. In order to get my planespotting in Casablanca tour arranged there was a lengthy vetting process. Required were a certificate of liability insurance, various forms of ID, and an inventory of my photography gear for consideration by various authorities to include the Moroccan Ministry of Communication. Even with various governmental pre-authorizations in hand it seemed a challenge to convince the airport’s badging office to issue my day credentials. After some back and forth between my various escorts and airport operations folks I received a temp badge in exchange for my passport. This collateral effectively ruled out any opportunity of an airport badge souvenir.

Tailwind uses a two-year-old Cessna 208B amphibious aircraft on the route from New York Skyports Seaplane Base to Boston Harbor

Tailwind uses a two-year-old Cessna 208B amphibious aircraft on the route from New York Skyports Seaplane Base to Boston Harbor

Tailwind Air isn’t an average commuter airline. There are definitely similarities to Seattle’s Kenmore Air, in that both fly seaplanes and do charters through some of the world’s busiest airspace, but Tailwind Air positions itself as a boutique service for the time-pressed Northeastern traveler.

Along with saving time, the flight offers some pretty amazing scenery – the Empire State Building is on the right

This is their math: it takes at least four hours to cover the 200 road miles between Manhattan and Boston by rail or car, depending on traffic or service delays. By air, it’s consistently less than 90 minutes. And far more comfortable and glamorous.

Our flight was on Friday, March 5, 2022, which marked the airline’s annual resumption of service on the route – the flight doesn’t operate in the winter months.

The flight from Manhattan to Boston took 70 minutes thanks to a helpful tailwind, although we paid for that by having to fight the corresponding headwind on the way back, so that leg took 90 minutes. Considering it’s taken me 90 minutes to drive the length of Manhattan in Friday afternoon traffic, this flight is a wonderful option.

Royal Air Maroc's OneWorld Special Livery 737-800

Royal Air Maroc’s oneworld special liveried 737-800

Like many of us, Moroccan flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) has had a rough few years due to the global pandemic. COVID’s first wave came just weeks after the airline’s ascension to membership in the oneworld alliance, and lockdowns have imposed significant disruptions to operations. Present-day RAM is smaller in terms of routes and fleet than when it entered the pandemic. As we detail below, the airline believes it is well-positioned for future success. Rightfully so, RAM has its eyes on a much brighter future.

Qatar’s oneworld 777 taxis beneath the new pedestrian bridge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hosted a “reveal reception” March 3 in preparation for opening its new $986 million International Arrivals Facility, which has been under construction for nearly four years.

The project’s most visible addition to the airport is a 780-foot-long pedestrian bridge over the taxiway that separates Concourses S and A. It’s the longest bridge of its type in the world, and its 85 feet of clearance allows for even the tallest of contemporary aircraft to safely pass beneath, even the behemoth 777x and its 64-foot, 7-inch tail. An airport spokesman said that the design even includes a calculated safety factor in the event a plane’s front landing gear were to collapse while beneath the bridge, which would raise the tail height even further.

A view from the skybridge 

The skybridge is wide, with expansive views and a moving walkway. It’s essentially a cable-stayed bridge, and the cables were left visible. It’s this reporter’s guess that there will be much dawdling on the way to customs and immigration on sunny days, when Mount Rainier will be clearly visible from the bridge

Ryan Calkins, president of the Port of Seattle Commission, lauded the facility’s grand views and much-improved service areas as Seattle’s “front porch to the world.” Washington State Governor Jay Inslee talked about how the Seattle area had hosted refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s and from Afghanistan in the 2000s, and the new facility should open in time to greet refugees from the current war in Ukraine.

Northern Pacific’s fresh livery on it’s first 757-200 at the recent rollout event in San Bernardino, Calif.

AvGeeks loooooove liveries. An interesting livery is one of the main reasons we go planespotting – we head to the airport to see either a particular type of aircraft, or to see that aircraft wearing a special or unusual livery.

A lot of time, effort, deliberation, and money go into designing those liveries, both the special ones and the mainline designs. A new multi-part series takes a look at how those liveries are designed. Last time, we looked at Icelandair’s branding and livery refresh. Today, we’ll take a look at Northern Pacific Airways‘ mainline livery.

Edmond Huot, Northern Pacific Airways’ chief creative officer and airline designer, explained that “We were given a clean slate to design the livery, the collateral, and the name. I was given a lot of latitude, for sure, and that is the exception to the rule as projects typically come with a framework and the client might be more hands on.”

For the name of the new airline, Huot said he wanted a name that “had an inherent story to it, and I didn’t want a trendy name.”

“Northern was the first name we came up with, but the legal team came back and said we can’t do northern,” so the name eventually morphed into Northern Pacific Airways.

“The stress for me, in the world of airline design, is that you only get one or two kicks at the can, so I already knew up front we had to nail it – I did a lot of research into the factors that would influence the brand – people, regions, etc.

Naming projects are usually very tricky, and that’s when the pressure started. We actually came up with the idea on a plane flying back from a meeting with a different client.”

He continued that “The idea was to come up with a name that wasn’t typical of a LCC (low-cost carrier).”