UAE-Canada open skies dispute spills into the open

UAE ambassador expresses disappointment over status of negotiations.
Members of the UAE delegation at a recent trade event in Canada.
Members of the UAE delegation at a recent trade event in Canada.

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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.