By Shane McGinley
Hopes are high for a thawing of UAE-Canadian relations and a resolution on the issue of increased flights between the two countries
Dubai’s Emirates Airline has denied it is planning to a codesharing agreement with WestJet Airlines, the second largest airline in Canada, it was confirmed on Wednesday.
"As we continue to expand our global reach, we routinely look at partnerships with other airlines in order to offer customers the most convenient and seamless service possible, however we have no immediate codeshare plans with WestJet at this stage," an Emirates spokesperson said.
WestJet Airlines is the second largest carrier in Canada, after Air Canada, and operates to 71 destinations in North America.
Emirates Airline, along fellow UAE carrier Etihad Airways, has been lobbying the Canadian government to allow them to increase the number of flights they operate to Canadian cities. However, talks on the issue collapsed in October and have resulted in the souring of relations between the two countries.
While Canadian authorities have claimed that there is already sufficient service between the UAE and Canadian cities, Maurice Flanagan, vice chairman of Emirates Airline claimed this was not the case and there is room in the market for more flights.
“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 told Arabian Business.
Hopes were raised on Wednesday for a thawing of relations between the two countries when Ambassador Ahmed Saeed Elham, head of consular services at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs received Canadian Ambassador to the UAE Kenneth Lewis.
“The meeting discussed bilateral UAE-Canadian consular relations and ways to further promote them,” WAM news agency reported.
On Thursday, Emirates also announced that it had signed its 61 aviation agreement with Panana, which will be its tenth deal so far this year, including Brazil, the US, UK, Spain, Thailand, Singapore, Switzerland, Malaysia, Chile, New Zealand and Lebanon.
"Open skies secured by the UAE and Dubai Civil Aviation Authorities with key economies now represent the majority of Emirates Airline's air services access worldwide, with an average of six new open or liberalised deals now being signed a year," the president of Emirates, Tim Clark said in a statement.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.