Above: The exterior of Marrakech Menara Airport in Marrakech

Marrakech's Beautiful, Awful Airport: Arrival Strategies

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ceremonially opened the new terminal of Marrakech’s airport in December 2016, reportedly expanding its capacity from 3 million passengers per year to 9 million. The enlarged airport is also visually striking, with a façade shaded by an undulating perforated screen and an interior filled with gleaming shops and inviting restaurants.

Yet the airport’s design is deeply, shamefully flawed. Without proper preparations, arriving at Marrakech Menara can be extraordinarily unpleasant.

When we first flew into Marrakech, it took us 30 or 45 minutes to get through the immigration line, which was inconvenient but not unexpected. It was, however, quite a shock to arrive in that same immigration hall after a domestic flight from Ouarzazate to Marrakech. That shock turned to outrage when we saw the line, which stretched far outside the rope switchbacks and snaked out of view. It must have been two hours long, and we were not having any of it.

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