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UAE-Canada open skies dispute spills into the open

by ASC Staff on Oct 10, 2010

Members of the UAE delegation at a recent trade event in Canada.
Members of the UAE delegation at a recent trade event in Canada.

The UAE ambassador in Canada has expressed disappointment over the breakdown of negotiations to increase the number of flights between the two countries.

In a statement released by the UAE embassy in Canada, UAE ambassador to Canada Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ghafli said: "The UAE is disappointed that despite intensive negotiations over the last five years, the UAE and Canada have been unable to arrive at an agreement on expanding the number of flights between the two countries.

“It is unfortunate that this process has been so protracted and frustrating. The UAE entered negotiations in good faith on the understanding that a solution would be reached and that constructive ideas would be brought to the negotiating table. The fact that this has not come about undoubtedly affects the bilateral relationship.”

According to the statement, at least 200 Canadian companies are active in the UAE and Canada is the largest beneficiary of two-way trade flows worth more than 1.5 billion dollars.

As such, six flights per week does not service the needs of both countries, according to the ambassador.

“The UAE continues to support the development and growth of international trade ties across all sectors, with our partners and friends around the world, in the belief that such ties are the basis for strong strategic relations," Al-Ghafli added.

In March, Air Canada’s CEO said there was no need for more flights between Canada and the UAE. Rather, he claimed, Emirates simply wanted to divert more passengers to Dubai so it could fly them on to other destinations.


UAE made a request, it Canada's rights to grant or refuse those request, it's nothing wrong to exercise Canada's own rig


Readers' Comments

Win (Oct 18, 2010) Canada

UAE - Canada Dispute
UAE made a request, it Canada's rights to grant or refuse those request, it's nothing wrong to exercise Canada's own rights. UAE have thier own rights and reasons and Canada as well. whatever the reasons are, is still Canada's or UAE descretion to say Yes or No, its one way or another. When UAE took decision not to support Canada its thier own sole descretions of UAE for its own rights and reasons. both countries knew exactly what will be the consecquences and I know that they are ready for that.

Ramzi Soujah (Oct 13, 2010)
United Arab Emirates

UAE-Canada Dispute
The Canadian Government should not try to protect Air Canada from outside competition. WHY? Because by introducing competition to the market, it forces Air Canada to streamline its operations and become more competitive themselves, instead of losing money year after year, as they have been doing for years. Having competition in the market is healthy for us,the consumers, also. And truth be told, as a consumer, I much rather fly EMIRATES than Air Canada. As a Canadian I of course don't want to see anyone lose their job, but this is up to the individual company to restructure and becomre a lean (competitive) machine. I don't want to keep people employed at my expense. It is true, Air Canada has some exorbitant prices when it comes to fares. Speaking to other people I find that most prefer to fly WEST-JET rather than Air Canada. Some say it is even safer!. I hope that a compromise can be reached soon, for the benefit of both parties, and I hope it comes soon. Being a Canadian company operating in the UAE it affects us directly to have this unresolved dispute be out in the open for a long time.

Karen (Oct 12, 2010) United Arab Emirates

UAE-Canada open skies dispute
Why should the Canadian government hand over its Air Canada share to another nation's carrier?! There's nothing wrong with protectionism if it actually means that Canadians get to keep their jobs. I understand the frustration that the UAE government must feel and I'm not convinced that there is no more scope for additional flights but not every country thinks free trade benefits their country overall and each government is entitled to pursue the option that benefits their own country, not anothers!

Farhan Ahmed (Oct 12, 2010)

UAE-Canada dispute...
Anyone can see that there is protectionism here at work. Obviously, the Canadian Government is hell bent on protecting the nation's flag carrier, namely Air Canada, and is worried about the prospects of losing out to the likes of Emirates and Etihad. But considering that nearly 200 Canadian companies operate in the UAE, what's indeed surprising is that they have not been lobbying or at least deemed fit to consider pressing for more services between the two countries! No wonder, the UAE feeling frustrated at not being able to exploit this opportunity. I had flown Etihad to Toronto last year and realized that there is tremendous scope for increased flights between the two nations. The Canadian Govt. continues to support Air Canada [naturally] as it suffers mounting losses year after year and to top it all the fares are the highest among major carriers operating in that region and hence there is reduced patronage for the airline. The Canadian authorities should understand that an open skies policy would do their economy a world of good and this would give Canadians, Emiratis, and others better alternatives in the skies. The statement made by the Air Canada CEO may be right but doesn't every other airline do the same, concentrate on increasing traffic through its hub; its time for Canada to open its doors. Come on, Canadians, wake up to Free Trade!


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