How A 30-Minute Air Arabia Maroc Flight Turned Into A 4 Hour Ordeal

In what looks like impossibility was made possible, after a half-hour flight was put on hold for four hours.

This incident took place on November 2nd, involving an  Air Arabia Maroc flight, Airbus A320 registered CN-NMG, operating as flight 3O726 from Tangiers (Morocco) to Nador (Morocco) with approximately 50 passengers onboard experienced severe delays due to poor weather conditions. What was supposed to be a 30-minute flight, departing the night before, ended up being delayed several hours before departing the next morning. In the end, the “short flight” lasted about four and a half hours.

Weather reports show that the airport was trapped under a thick layer of fog with about 200 meters of visibility. Indeed, simply looking at the flight’s scheduled time of departure (21:35) on November 1st and its actual time of departure (06:04 the next morning) leads us to believe that it was pushed back in hopes that weather would improve.Below is the stunning flight path visualization of the journey, showing the incredibly long hold the aircraft had to endure.

Below is the stunning flight path visualization of the journey, showing the incredibly long hold the aircraft had to endure.

Air Arabia Maroc flight
The normally short flight would take 30 minutes in ideal conditions.

Air Arabia Maroc flight

The crew decided to enter a holding pattern and wait for visibility conditions to improve. Seemingly having a high level of optimism, the crew circled, and circled, and circled some more.

The aircraft finally landed safely at 10:40 in the morning, local time – holding for over four hours.

We don’t actually have an answer as to why the crew decided to wait out the weather conditions beyond believing that it was out of sheer optimism. One hour seems realistic and reasonable, while two hours would be understandable but also bordering on ‘unreasonable.’ However, for the crew to hold for four hours is quite extraordinary.

We inquired with Air Arabia regarding this incident. However, at the time of publication, the carrier is yet to respond.

The situation becomes even more puzzling as there are many suitable airports nearby, not to mention the option of returning to the origin city of Tangiers. The airport of Angads, which serves the eastern city of Oujda, for example, seems like it would have been a suitable possibility. Several European airlines normally fly to Oujda, including Ryanair, Transavia, and TAP Air Portugal.

This incident is certainly a mystery.


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