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Thu 11 Nov 2010 02:53 PM

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Canada denies gov't officials banned from UAE airlines

Comments are latest twist in diplomatic feud over landing rights, follows UAE visa changes for Canadian citizens

Canada denies gov't officials banned from UAE airlines
Canada flag
Canada denies gov't officials banned from UAE airlines
BUSINESS TRAVEL: Etihad Airways CEO said that he anticipated the return of business travel over the coming year. (Getty Images)
Canada denies gov't officials banned from UAE airlines
An Emirates Airline Airbus A380 jet taxis upon arriving at JFK International Airport in New York, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 1, 2008. Emirates Airline celebrated the first commercial flight to North America of the Airbus A380 from Dubai to New York. Photographer: Jeremy Bales/Bloomberg News

Canada has denied allegations that it has barred government officials from flying on state-backed UAE airlines, it the latest development of a diplomatic row over landing rights.

The two countries are embroiled in a feud sparked by Canada’s refusal to allow UAE carriers, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines, to increase their thrice-weekly direct flights to Toronto.

Transport Canada, the government agency that oversees the aviation industry, and Air Canada opposed granting more landing slots to the carriers.

The decision triggered a UAE government decision to shut a military base near Dubai used by Canada to support missions in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, the UAE Embassy in Ottowa said that Canadian citizens will now need visas to enter the Gulf country.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, foreign minister of the UAE, suggested on Wednesday the Canadian government had taken the dispute a step further.

"The last thing I heard that Canadian officials cannot go on UAE carriers, so I think this is an escalation that came from Canada not from the UAE," Sheikh Abdullah told Reuters at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers in Abu Dhabi. "I don't think it's a very smart decision."

Officials at Canada's Foreign Affairs Department denied there was any such travel ban.

"No, not true," an official told Reuters. "We have an existing agreement with them.”

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feroze 9 years ago

They should not only Ban government officials from traveling on EK/EY but they should ban EK/EY from over flying Canadian Air space just like the UAE government refused permission to a plane carrying a Canadian Minister which had to take a longer route.

Every country has a sovereign right to decide how many flights to allow too which country. EK/EY dont carry traffic originating in UAE, they pick up 6th freedom traffic from all over the world.

UAE requiring the Canadians to get a visa was in response to landing rights issue and nothing else. Canadians have required UAE nationals to obtain visa's many years ago so why suddenly impose this on Canadians.

Let EK and EY survive on their own steam and not by Govt intervention.

Our Dear Leader 9 years ago

People like Feroze should not be allowed to interfere in adult topics. Especially since the UAE refused access to its air space because the Canadian minister was going to land in the military air base, which was off-limits at that moment in time.

Tell me, Feroze, if EK/EY are being bad for transporting people to other countries through the UAE, isnt that as bad as Air Canada transporting people to other countries through Germany? Why is the UAE not allowed to be a hub but Germany is? Oh, never mind, I know why.

You speak about sovereignty in choosing how many flights are allowed in, yet you question the sovereignty in asking for visas from certain nationalities???

EK and EY (well, EK mostly) have survived on their own, unlike Air Canada, which is a dumping ground for Canadian taxpayer money.

Noman 9 years ago

These are two nations with very strong ties. They should sit on table and resolve their disputes.
Visa requirements for canadians is very disappointing for the people of both countries. I think it will heart the trade between two nations.
Political matters can be resolved by dialogue not by confrontation.
We hope that UAE government will review its decesion of Visa requirements for Canadians and once again people and government of these two nations will resolve their disputes without effecting the businesses.

irene 9 years ago

Feroze, I think you have it all wrong. Canada airlines needs the business much more than Emirates which is a commercial and dynamic Company who tries and gets more market shares around the world.. What is wrong about that? the market is opened to everyone's creativity, ideas and intelligence! The Canadian aviation feels threattened because they are unable to achieve what Emirates does!!!. These days there is only place for the best. Canadian aviation is not there, the canadian government is protecting their aviation, fair enough, but this is not the smart way of doing so!!!! They need their exports to the GCC as Canada is no hub like America is for Central and South America so any market share is precious to their busisness people, and they have forgotten this. When you are successful in taking market shares, competitors want to stop you. Dubai cargo is this year Nr.7 in the world arena, and Canada? As for the visas, only right! is it downgrading? no! just equal! just normal

Oh Canada 9 years ago

As a Canadian living in Dubai, I am deeply upset by the UAE government's insistence that Canadians obtain visas before entering the country. It makes no sense for the UAE from a tourism point of view, as Canadians are some of the most open-minded people in the world and don't shun the Arab world and its tourist destinations as our neighbors to the south.

Irene, it IS downgrading. Should Canada now cancel all flights originating from the UAE in retaliation?

Finally, Canada is a fair, diplomatic country with rights and freedoms for every citizen. I like my life and job in the UAE, but it does not compare to Canada in terms of rights for EVERY citizen, lack of discrimination towards non-citizens, and its exceptional reputation in foreign affairs. The UAE should not be starting conflicts with a country of Canada's calibre, as it only antagonises them in the eyes of the other G8 nations. Rather, the UAE should focus efforts on trying to emulate Canada and its equal treatment of EVERYONE.

Skeptika 9 years ago

This whole issue is blowing way out of proportion and only means trouble to Canadian passport holders and businessmen. One thing for sure: Steven Harper as prime minister has definitely not helped the image of Canada abroad (except in Israel I'm afraid) and is bound to take the prestige of our great country down to a deeper abyss; time to get him the hell out of there asap.
As for aviation, it was indeed hypocritical to let the UAE languish for 5 long years before confirming a protectionist policy in favour of Air Canada (which sucks as an airline by the way - when compared to both Emirates and Ittihad); every airline in the world today is fighting for survival and gets 'protected' by Government, but that does not mean that diplomatic and civilized relations between countries have to be affected, and this is the red line that the Harper government has unfortunately crossed.

Shahdad 9 years ago

I am more than ever proud to be a Canadian. I think this will suffice.

david 9 years ago

Canadian foreign policy has always been not positive towards middle east states except to Israel for whatever reasosns, even AlJazeera News Channel was denied access to canadian audiences, two state visits by Monarch have been cancelled over past few years due to negative news media publications on Saudi Arabia, no wonder state relations with UAE have taken same negative approach by canadian govt not to allow free trade policy. It is good that UAE has taken firm action this time to do trade on equal terms if they believe in free trade policy

ehjay 9 years ago

These actions by the gov't of the UAE simply proves that the gov't there has a direct interest in the airline

Benoy 9 years ago

When the whole world is becoming a global village now why is hard for an airline to get landing rights to Canada? No problem if the flights are from Toronto. People from the West should suffer due to Government/undue pressure from Air Canada? This is not fair. If an airline asks for landing right the smarter way to negotiate is to have a couple of flights for Air Canada in that route too. This way Air Canada's interests are protected. But of course Air Canada don't want to spend any funds to upgrade its fleet and wants to operate with its 25 year old planes.

I think Canda should be open for more tourism and trade and of course the better way to have it going smoothly is to have world class airlines come to economic hubs of the country.

Think about Canadian citizens. Now we need to have a visa to go to U.A.E. This is a shame for Canadian Government. Canada should have good bi-lateral relationships with the world in general.