31 JUL 2018: Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines just got what they wanted from Canada. On Monday following an agreement to increase capacity between the UAE and Canada the two airlines will each be adding two flights to and from Toronto. That increases their weekly service to and from Toronto to five times a week each and comes after years of persistent efforts by the UAE to do just that. There was no announcement from Transport Canada.
In June, Sultan Al Mansouri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, met with Marc Garneau, the Canadian Minister of Transport, in Ottawa to discuss cooperation in the air transport field.
In a statement on Monday, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said that the meeting culminated in an agreement to increase air traffic rights, allowing both Etihad and Emirates to raise frequencies to five times a week from the current three.
Emirates will add new flights from August 18 while Etihad’s additional services will start from October 28.
The agreement also stipulates an increase in cargo flights to four times a week from two.
“The increasing of flights will contribute greatly to facilitate travel and support economic growth, and will provide new investment opportunities, especially in light of the economic agreements signed between the two countries recently through the joint economic committee,” said Al Mansouri, who also serves as chairman of GCAA.
Etihad will continue to operate a Boeing 777 on the route, including on the additional flights, while Emirates will continue deploying an Airbus A380.
Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the GCAA, said that the deal is a “positive step” towards promoting air links between the UAE and Canada. He added that the deal came to meet “the urgent need for further development of air transport relations between the two countries.”
Etihad said in a statement that Toronto is “one the most successful and popular destinations” on its global route network, and that the move to increase frequencies has been “eagerly anticipated.”
Similarly, Emirates said passenger occupancy on the Toronto route has been “consistently full, averaging 90 percent, with demand outstripping supply.” The increased frequency will add 65 percent capacity to the market.
UAE-based airlines have long been vying for greater capacity to Canada as well as access to different cities besides Toronto, such as Vancouver, though this agreement is only for Toronto.
Air Canada operates three flights weekly to Dubai. No word of any expansion to that schedule.