OUR GLOBAL PRESENC
The Emirates and Canada story began on October 29, 2007, with the launch of three weekly nonstop flights from Dubai to Toronto and vice versa. This is the maximum number of weekly flights we can operate under the current Air Transport Agreement between Canada and the UAE. Every year, these flights operate at near capacity, consistently averaging over 90% seat occupancy. It is an indication there is plenty of demand to be filled and a daily service between Toronto and Dubai could benefit travelers, businesses, and the tourism industry.
In the longer term, we would also like to expand our services to more Canadian cities, such as Calgary and Vancouver, in the same way that we have grown in other markets, such as Australia, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Read more about Emirates’ operations in our factsheet Emirates and Canada(opens a PDF in a new tab).
In 2017, the UAE was the largest merchandise export market for Canada in the Middle East and North Africa region.
We believe that increased access for Emirates to Canada would have a positive impact on Canada’s trade relationship with the UAE, facilitating the carriage of goods and people between the two countries. While the Canadian government promotes "open skies" agreements, many of its own such agreements have been with countries that are less valuable export markets for Canada.
Canada’s trading relationship with these countries is markedly different compared with the UAE and Dubai:
|Country||Canadian exports in 2017 (CAD millions)||Export ranking||Total trade in 2017 (CAD millions)||Total trade ranking|
|United Arab Emirates||1,603||21||1,792||37|
|Trinidad and Tobago||305||53||481||67|
|Antigua and Barbuda||10||153||10||166|
Source: Statistics Canada & US Census Bureau
As the table demonstrates, the UAE is a significantly larger export market for Canada than most of the other listed countries where these Open Skies agreements exist, with the exception of South Korea, Switzerland, and Brazil. This further highlights the potential of additional Emirates flights to Canada to to boost trade significantly.
Canada’s tourism industry is suffering, with inbound traffic from traditional markets showing substantial decreases. According to Destination Canada, the country welcomed an estimated 19.97 million international overnight visitors in 2016, still short of the record 20.06 million arrivals in 2002. Provincial governments and tourism operators are desperately seeking to open new source markets, including the UAE.
UAE tourists are some of the most sought after in the world, spending on average CAD 10,000 per person, per week on vacation. The average vacation stay for an Emirati in the United States is one month, though many stay for up to eight weeks.
This same potential exists for Canada, and Emirates has the ability to connect the country with these tourists. However, the opportunity is being lost because of existing flight restrictions. As outlined in the table below, other countries have opened their doors to increased Emirates services and seen the economic and tourism benefits that follow.
|Country||Emirates Weekly Flights (Summer 2018)||Flight restrictions*|
*The maximum number of Emirates weekly flights allowed under existing air services agreements between the UAE and the country in question.
The strong commercial, tourism, and economic benefits to Canada can only be fully realized by increasing the flight frequency entitlements under the current Air Transport Agreement between Canada and the UAE. Dubai has become a global economic player, providing a wide range of opportunities for Canadian businesses. Strengthening the relationship between Emirates and Canada with increased flights to and from Dubai would further promote trade, investment, tourism, and employment, generating substantial economic and social benefits for Canada and its citizens.
There are some concerns about the increased competition with Air Canada if a daily Emirates service was launched between Dubai and Toronto, concerns which from our perspective are hugely exaggerated. Currently, at Toronto Pearson Airport, our share of weekly international departures is 0.1%, while our share of international seat capacity is 0.4%, as opposed to Air Canada's 54% share of weekly international departures and 51% share of international seat capacity. With a daily service, Emirates’ shares of weekly international departures and international seat capacity will increase marginally, to just 0.3% and 1%, respectively. These small increases are not at a level that would pose a threat to Air Canada.