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Sat 27 Nov 2010 02:46 PM

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Canada talks on flights 'exhausted' - UAE minister

Efforts to gain more landing rights in Canada have been criticised by Air Canada

Canada talks on flights 'exhausted' - UAE minister
DIPLOMATIC TENSIONS: Canadian citizens would now need visas to enter any of the seven emirates from Jan 2 (Getty Images)

Talks between the UAE and Canada over flight rights have been "exhausted", the Gulf state's economy minister said on Saturday, ratcheting up their diplomatic confrontation over the issue.

Dubai's Emirates airline has fiercely lobbied Ottawa to allow it to expand its three day a week Toronto service. It also wants to fly to Calgary and Vancouver. Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways also wants to increase its flights.

Ottawa has so far not agreed to the requests.

Tensions between the two countries escalated last month when the UAE ordered Canada to vacate a military base near Dubai which was used as a staging post for Canadian forces in Afghanistan.

Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al Mansouri told reporters on Saturday: "We have exhausted all terms of negotiations with Canada over the last six years. I'd like to challenge statements made by Canada that tens of thousands of jobs will be lost. This (more flights) will provide job opportunities."

He said each additional flight would contribute $60 million to the Canadian economy, without elaborating.

UAE's efforts to gain more landing rights in Canada have been fiercely criticised by Air Canada, the country's biggest carrier. It has accused Middle East airlines of wanting to steal connecting passengers that help make its routes profitable.

The Canadian Labor Congress has said that allowing a foreign carrier like Emirates to take some of the most profitable connection traffic could hurt Air Canada's ability to maintain its domestic service, threatening jobs.

A UAE official has said that Canadian citizens would need visas to enter any of the seven emirates from Jan. 2. Canada was previously one of more than 30 countries, mostly Western, that benefited from a visa waiver.(Reuters)

abu yosuf 8 years ago

The Canadian government has been favoring and protecting Air Canada for a long time; where is the headquarters- Montreal of course. Sorry, UAE but don't expect Canada to change decades of protectionism. I sure would appreciate direct flights to Vancouver, but no matter how I get there it will NEVER be on Air Canada.

txcnguy 8 years ago

The only thing that hurts Air Canada's ability to maintain service are threats to its monopolistic attitude. If it had real service like what it fears from the UAE carriers, who consistently win awards, there wouldn't be this problem. If the CLC claims this then why did Ottawa allow flights from Qatar but not the UAE?

Salim Shaikh 8 years ago

Emirates and Canada are right in their reasoning from their own point of view, and I guess it is alright up to asking to vacate a military base to counter the refusal of traffic rights, but there is an element of pettiness in penalising the traveling public with a visa requirement in this tussle.

Mulath Mabsoot 8 years ago

How about the Passengers? Do WE prefer direct Flights or lots of 'connections'? Would the UAE permit reciprocity? i.e. Direct Air Canada flights to the UAE? Do any Air Canada Flights use UAE hubs now?

Aladin M. Wahba 8 years ago

The Canada-UAE relationship has soured over the breakdown of negotiations for additional landing rights in Canada for Emirates and Etihad airlines.

The subsequent termination of Canadian military/logistics flights in support of troops in Afghanistan from Dubai Emirate and revocation of entry visas at UAE airports for Canadian passport holders will accentuate the deterioration of relations between our two friendly nations.

There is no point in addding fuel to the fire by assessing blame for the failure of diplomatic and commercial efforts. Suffice to say that both jurisdictions stand to lose from the current path and environment.

The Canadian and UAE business communities have a responsibility to advocate with both governments for a timely return to negotiations to improve the overall trade and air transportation links between our respective jurisdictions.

A return to negotiations is the only viable option.

Aladin M. Wahba

AR 8 years ago

Air Canada has the opportunity to fly to the UAE but doesn't use its reciprocal landing rights. The UAE does NOT restrict them from coming to the UAE.

Mick 8 years ago

I'm Canadian and I, personally, avoid Air Canada. It's not a great airline, IMO.
I think that the visa issue is taking it a little bit too far. However, if it keeps Justin Bieber from ever coming here....I'm all for it.

John Harte 8 years ago

This has only stoked anti-Arab feeling in Canada, where many view the UAE's decision as misguided. This is about the airline business and a fight for more landing rights in Canada, which Canada has the right to agree to or not. To start punishing ordinary Canadians with unecessary visa requirements is taking aim at the wrong target.

Canada 8 years ago

And what's wrong with trying to protect Canadian jobs? That is what governments are suppposed to do. The UAE has ordered
a ton of new A380 aircraft and they need somwhere to fly them.
The Govt of Canada made the correct decision. The population
of Canada can't support more capacity by a foreign carrier and
protecting jobs here in Canada is first priority, not trying to
increase business for a foreign company.

Jon 8 years ago

Isn't anyone getting bored of this now?

Continually printing the same story in 6 different ways isn't going to change the situation - move onto something more newsworthy please....