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Sat 4 Jun 2011 01:39 PM

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Etihad CEO reaffirms bid to secure more Canada flights

James Hogan tells audience in Toronto that services would increase if regulatory access was eased

Etihad CEO reaffirms bid to secure more Canada flights
Etihad CEO James Hogan.

Etihad CEO James Hogan has reaffirmed the airline's desire to increase its flights to Canada in a speech to businessmen in Toronto.

Hogan made his comments in an address to the Toronto Board of Trade when he told them that services to Canada would increase if if regulatory access was eased.

"There are 384 weekly long and ultra long haul flights into Toronto every week. Etihad flies just three of them - less than one per cent. Etihad is a friend to Canada and we want to be a connector to Canada," Hogan said.

Hogan compared Canada with Etihad's successful partnerships with American Airlines and Virgin Australia in other markets, and expressed a willingness "to work with local carriers to grow the market".

His comments come as relations between the oil-rich UAE and Canada have deteriorated rapidly since November, when Canada’s transport agency refused to give Gulf carriers Etihad and Emirates fresh landing rights.

The Gulf state retaliated with the closure of Camp Mirage, a military base located outside Dubai and used to supply Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

The diplomatic spat took a new turn in December, when the UAE Embassy announced Canadian citizens would no longer receive free visas and tourists would be required to pay up to $1,000 Canadian dollars to enter the country.

In February, Ontario’s Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said he would not be happy with Dubai becoming the largest single shareholder in the country’s exchange if a proposed $6.7bn merger between the London Stock Exchange and Canada's TMX went ahead.

Earlier this month, Qatar Airways said it will press for daily flights to four cities in Canada in a bid to muscle in on national carrier Air Canada’s long-haul market.

“I think [Canada] is currently underserved, a lot of passengers are going through the USA because there are not enough airlines [offering] international flights out of Canada unless you want to go by Air Canada,” CEO Akbar Al Baker told Arabian Business.

“We already have rights to fly to four cities in Canada but with only three frequencies a week so quite normally we would like at least a daily frequency to all of these four destinations.”

The Doha-based airline will launch its first route to Montreal on June 29.

For all the latest travel 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.
Jagan 8 years ago

What big talks were they giving a few months back about Etihad not being allowed additional slots. After the Canada PM got re-elected, Etihad is left with no option. And now they come in line.

Panasonic 8 years ago

It is Canada who has no options; it cannot remain closed off to international carriers. No one is stopping Air Canada from flying into the UAE, and no one is stopping Air Canada from continuing its journey from the UAE into other countries.

There is absolutely no difference in principal between a layover in Germany and a layover in Dubai. Air Canada, however, wants to enrich its German partners instead of taking up a real business position and offering to 1) take these flights head on and 2) compete with international airlines.

And please, no one talk about cheap labour; the lowest Emirates and Etihad pilot makes quite more than in North America; and the cabin crew here make a lot more than those in Europe and the rest of the world, in addition to all the benefits they get. Just because the west has managed to unionize the simplest, non-skilled jobs and pays them upwards of $30 an hour doesn't mean the UAE should be similarly stupid and follow in their foot steps.

Mick 8 years ago

Hike up the Canada visa fees, kick out our military installment and disallow Canadian planes from flying over UAE and then expect to give them landing rights in the end? Amazing. Perhaps, UAE should not take things more personally and be more diplomatic. In business, you can't always get your way and this is business. If the UAE ever starts to manufacturer goods on a global level, I wonder if they will ban or hike visas on countries that don't give them contracts for export of their products.

ben 8 years ago

James Hogan openly admitted that EK and ETD dump seats onto the Canadian market to give excess capacity and over half of the passengers they fly end up in Transit and not at the final destination. With those comments, it will be a while before either carrier gets more slots

Vicky 8 years ago

Arm twisting may have won some contests in the past but it may not pay off in every situation. Is anybody surprised to see the statement that 'we are willing to work with local carriers'. Less bravado, more accomodation (from both parties indeed) may see some progress. But it should not be at the cost of wholesale passenger poaching and predator initiatives.... which seemed to be the earlier intent of Etihad and Emirates.

A Canadian 8 years ago

The UAE accommodated Canada for 9 years by offering them a military base free of charge with full services and amenities. When did Canada become a state that takes without appreciation? Why is it that we allow Harper to portray the wrong image about Canadians abroad? 9 years of services, 9 years of free medical/food/water/electric supplies, plus the fact that all canadians enter the UAE without a prior visa; all of that was not accommodating? What more does Harper want?

Arm twisting is the only language Harper and his new canada know. Although I am a canadian living in the UAE, I think the UAE government should do more to punish Canada and remind it of its true place in the world: back behind 3rd world countries like Cote D'Ivoire. Perhaps then Harper will realize that arm twisting will not win him any more contests. Canada needs the UAE more than the UAE needs canada (a look at the trade surplus/deficit shows that).

If only Canadians realized that on May 2nd.

A Canadian 8 years ago

Air Canada's passengers whom it forces to travel through Germany are also transit passengers. Why is it okay for Air Canada to do this and not Emirates/Etihad?

I don't want to spend my hard earned money in Europe. I dont want to visit europe nor do I want to see any europeans. If i want to get to my home in Saskatoon, I want to do so in the FASTEST way possible: Dubai - Toronto - Saskatoon. I dont want to stop in Germany; and my government has NO RIGHT to force it upon me.

A Canadian 8 years ago

Use an airbase for FREE for 9 years, allow citizens unrestricted entry to the UAE and visa upon arrival, and then deny more landing rights??

Perhaps Canada should be a more respectful partner. Perhaps Canada should realize that diplomacy, trade and military partnerships are a two way road. Canada used and abused the UAE's generosity, hospitality and kindness, and yet somehow the blame is on the UAE?

Camp Mirage's lease was due to end in June 2010. Canada knew WELL IN ADVANCE that they were going to be kicked out, but the UAE was kind enough to extend the lease until september. What did they get in return? absolutely nothing.

Captain Canuck 8 years ago

Many countries have given Canada lodging, mostly out of respect for being the most successful peacekeeping force in the history of the world. Canadians continue to enforce national security without any hidden agenda (oil etc.....we have lots, thanks). Sure, we are the butt of jokes and we turn a deaf ear to the mocking of a weak state but the fact remains that we have done enormous amounts of selfless actions to ensure the safety of countries outside of our own borders. In return for a base with water (medical and supplies??...we provided our own and had some of the best military doctors on site). The agenda for base space was for extra landing rights?? Hogan says that more were needed because of a shortage. I doubt that shortage really exists. They base it on healthy competition with Air Canada. How about we discuss Vodaphone and Skype not allowed healthy competition entry in the UAE and you will see the true colours come out.

Paul 8 years ago

I don't get this. Emirates flies to 4 US cities and Etihad to 2 US destinations. They each want 4 Canadian cities daily but we never hear about the USA being singled out and being scorned.
There is what, 350 million people in the USA and 35 million in Canada. Why are we not hearing about USA issues. Something does not make sense. The other point to remember is these airlines are trying to take business away from the Star Alliance and One World group of carriers and they will protect their customer base from being played with.