Flight talks with Canada ‘exhausted’: UAE minister

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The UAE has asked for daily flights for each of its two airlines, which currently have three flights a week to Toronto
© AFP/File Karim Sahib - The UAE has asked for daily flights for each of its two airlines, which currently have three flights a week to Toronto
The UAE has asked for daily flights for each of its two airlines, which currently have three flights a week to Toronto
© AFP/File Karim Sahib - The UAE has asked for daily flights for each of its two airlines, which currently have three flights a week to Toronto

DUBAI (AFP) – Talks between the United Arab Emirates and Canada over granting Emirati carriers more routes have been “exhausted,” the minister of economy said in statements published on Saturday.

“We have exhausted all the terms of negotiations with the Canadians over six years,” Sultan bin Said al-Mansuri said, according to the website of the newspaper, The National.

The UAE has asked for daily flights for each of its two airlines — Emirates and Etihad — which currently have three flights a week to Toronto, said Mansuri.

It would help reduce the costs of keeping airline crew in Canada for extra days between flights, he added.

But Ottawa has turned down the request which former transport minister John Baird saying “was not in the best interests of Canada.”

“It would have cost Canada literally tens of thousands of jobs,” Baird told reporters earlier this month. “That is why we said no.”

But Mansuri has insisted that the Canadian economy would benefit from the deal and earn at least 60 million dollars (around 45 million euros) in additional revenue from each additional flight from the UAE.

“There have been some statements made from the Canadian side, that were sometimes fiery… This is not the way relationships between two countries are handled,” Mansuri was quoted as saying by The National.

Canada was forced last month to close a military base in Dubai that was part of a key supply route to Afghanistan after refusing to grant the UAE’s two national carriers more landing rights.

The stand-off grew even more personal after the UAE forced a plane carrying Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay back from Afghanistan to take a long detour by denying the aircraft permission to use its airspace.

MacKay has reportedly suggested it would take 10 years to repair the relationship with the UAE.

About 27,000 Canadians live in the United Arab Emirates, one of Canada’s biggest economic partners in the Middle East, with bilateral trade valued at about 1.5 billion dollars per year, according to UAE officials.