Lufthansa encouraging Canada to block Emirates expansion, claims Flanagan

The Dubai-based carrier said Canada is being “egged on” by the German carrier to restrict Gulf access to the Canadian market

STRONG REBUTTAL: Emirates Airline executive vice president Maurice Flanagan. (ITP Images)

STRONG REBUTTAL: Emirates Airline executive vice president Maurice Flanagan. (ITP Images)

Germany’s Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline, is encouraging Canadian authorities to block Emirates Airline’s bid to expand the number of flights it operates to Canada, the vice chairman of the Dubai-based carrier told Arabian Business.

“They are targeting Emirates, being egged on by Lufthansa… It is purely the protection of Air Canada,” Maurice Flanagan, vice chairman of Emirates Airline, told Arabian Business of Canadian authorities refusal to allow the Dubai-based carrier to increase the number of flights it operates to Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

“We have perfect open skies to the United States, we can fly anywhere we wish with any capacity and any frequency so we go to New York, San Francisco, Los Angles they are all non-stop. Canada we are restricted to three flights a week [which is] absolutely ridiculous when the market is there for double daily Toronto, double daily Vancouver, and double daily Calgary. The market is there,” Flanagan added.

The breakdown of talks between the two governments in October has resulted in the deterioration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, with the UAE recently increasing visa restrictions for Canadian visitors.

While Canada has said the current number of flights are enough to service the market between the two countries, Flanagan disagreed: “They know it’s simply not true, there are 26,000 Canadians working here, enormous trade between just Dubai, not just the UAE, that’s ten times as much with Switzerland but they’ve given Switzerland open skies, all in protection of Air Canada.”

Canadians travelling to the Middle East currently have to transit through major European airports, such as Frankfurt, which is the main hub for Germany’s Lufthansa. Lufthansa and Air Canada are linked through their membership of the Star Alliance airline association.

“(Air Canada) would rather its passengers be diverted through hubs in Europe to access these destinations; no matter how inconvenient, costly or time-consuming… Why should Canadian consumers be dictated to by the narrow interests of Air Canada’s and its fellow Star Alliance member Lufthansa?” Emirates said in a press brochure issued last month.

Looking to the future, Flanagan believes the issue is no longer just about landing right and is now a bigger diplomatic issue: “It is heavily political now; we are almost out of the picture.”

GCC airlines, such as Etihad, Dubai’s Emirates and Qatar Airways have recently been criticised by European airlines, which say government subsidies and access to cheap financing have allowed Gulf carriers to expand rapidly.

Emirates overtook Lufthansa last year as the biggest carrier on international flights, following a sixfold increase in traffic since 2000, when it ranked 24th.

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Posted by: Abdulla. J

If the Canadian Government as they claim, they want to secure jobs in Air Canada. Simple agreements between "X" Airlines and Air Canada should be made such as, not employing Air Canada employees in "X" Airlines, for examle lets say, minimum three years after their resignation in Air Canada. I think the Canadian Government has made it such a child play and not the UAE Government. Sorry folks.

Posted by: Nisk

As usual in any conflict , a normal canadians will suffer the new visa restrictions and long non direct flights

Posted by: Harry winston

UAE should open its Telecom market and set an example for Air Canada...mmm... not!!

Posted by: addrtw


Posted by: SAX

Canada should open its Telecom market to foreigners and THAT would set an example to Air Canada. Wouldnt that be more appropriate? Canadian government leading the way for private Canadian corporations?

Posted by: Elsafi Bashier

the determination of landing slots number for airliners to fly to Canadian airports is an absolute right for the Canadian Civil Aviation Authority, therefore, Emirate has no right to force CCAA to provide them with the landing slots number they need

Posted by: Farhan Ahmed

Emirates is not forcing the Canadian authorities to grant it landing rights...its just based on demand and supply factors and the fact that air traffic between the two countries has increased many folds over the years! I've myself flown Abu dhabi to Toronto twice by Etihad and I've seen that planes actually fly to full capacity, its the same with Emirates! In any case, Air Canada has been granted reciprocal landing rights to the UAE, so why aren't they using it? I guess the Canadian Government has to come out with an answer on this one...

Posted by: P wills

When the UAE opens up its "other markets" to international competition then I don't see why Emirates can't fly wherever they want. <

Posted by: p wills

yes lets start with the Telecoms Business

I can call Canada for 1 euro cent and under from Europe with several operators to choose from.

It costs me upwards of 30 cents a Min to the UAE
Until UAE has "first world" "fairness and competition" it will still be viewed by many as a "emerging" country.

Posted by: SAX

Such as what? Telecommunications? Canada's market is even more protectionist than the UAE; ask any true Canadian (and not one of those 4-years-and-i'm-out ones) what the story was behind Rogers AT&T and the new Wind Mobile.

What 'other markets' should the UAE open up to international competition? I'm quite interested to know.

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