Emirates & Etihad Greatly Increase Service To Canada

Filed Under: Emirates, Etihad

Canada has a lot of service from international carriers, given that the country really only has one global airline, Air Canada (though WestJet will soon become more competitive, as they take delivery of 787s). While Canada has a lot of international service, the country has also generally taken a protectionist stance when it comes to the Gulf carriers, by restricting their growth to Canada.

Up until now, Emirates and Etihad have been greatly limited in terms of the amount of flying they can do to Canada. Both airlines can only offer 3x weekly flights to Canada, which they operate to Toronto. On top of that, Air Canada operates 3x weekly flights between Toronto and Dubai.

No expansion has been possible beyond that, given the bilateral agreement between Canada and the UAE.

Thanks to a new agreement between Canada and the UAE, approved carriers that are part of the bilateral agreement now have the ability to increase capacity by up to 68%.

Both Emirates and Etihad are taking advantage of this opportunity immediately. Emirates and Etihad are both increasing their frequencies between the UAE and Toronto from 3x weekly to 5x weekly:

  • Emirates will offer 5x weekly flights between Dubai and Toronto as of August 18, 2018, using an Airbus A380
  • Etihad will offer 5x weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Toronto as of October 28, 2018, using a Boeing 777-300ER

On top of this, Air Canada also operates 3x weekly flights between Toronto and Dubai, using a combination of Boeing 787s and 777s, depending on the season. Presumably they also have the right to increase frequencies from 3x to 5x weekly, though they haven’t yet made such an announcement, and for that matter I’d be surprised if they do.

I’m impressed that Air Canada can make the route work with limited connecting traffic beyond Dubai. That’s part of the reason I’m surprised that the bilateral agreement was even expanded, given how protectionist Canada has usually been in this regard.

Overall I’d say this is quite a positive development for consumers in Canada.

(Tip of the hat to Vineet)

  1. My understanding was that the ME-3 really want to expand to Canadian cities beyond Toronto, especially Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal – similar in scope to the connectivity to secondary cities they have in the U.K. and Australia. So, this sounds like an improvement but far less than that Emirates would want. I flew a family member from Edmonton to South Africa in J on Emirates and they had to connect in Seattle via Alaska Airlines because there were few other options.

  2. … for consumers in Canada, but probably mostly consumers in India/Pakistan.

    Jump on emirates.com and etihad.com and check the menus, that will show you the target market for Toronto flights.

    Good on them though, the more availability the better … and for Etihad, adds to the (albeit small) bunch of good news recently with the caviar in First, and the new amenity kits.

  3. Air Canada does connect a ton of traffic over Dubai, mostly to Indian and Pakistani destinations. Though they may not have codeshares, they do have interline agreements with basically every airline, and Air Canada does use them to sell beyond their network. Nearly half the traffic on the flight to Dubai goes beyond Dubai to the Indian sub continent and to Colombo. Using other airlines at DXB, through interline relationships

  4. Most of the Air Canada plane is filled with pax connecting to India on AI and UL to Cmb. That’s how they make this route work.

    Great news for Canada with this increase!

  5. All right! So next time the Supreme Leader decides to do another ME3 electronics ban, I will have more options to fly to Canada when I need to visit the USA.

  6. Now PIA will probably cut their Toronto route (their last in North America) because the only reason it worked was because of the convenience and limited flights from Gulf Carriers.

  7. If I were EK, wouldn’t it make more sense to fly daily on a 777 than 5x weekly on an A380? To my knowledge, the agreement limits capacity, not frequency, no?

  8. The AC 56/57 flights are always packed, but are my favorite flying out of Dubai to my offices is Boston/DC (via YYZ). It’s technically an overnight flight leaving Dubai at 2330ish, and getting me to DCA (not IAD) by 9am! Allows me to also leave DCA (not IAD) around 6pm and gets back into Dubai the next evening.

    Also, you can book it on United to be Fly America Act compliant.

  9. Air Canada has a pretty compelling proposition to India with daily nonstop services from Toronto to New Delhi and Mumbai and a thrice weekly nonstop from Vancouver to Delhi which has recently been upgraded to a year round route. Even though the market is larger then these services I believe emirates and etihad will not be able to make such a huge splash in the India canada market as there are many other one stop options via europe and even asia that offer daily connectivity. They will probably need to pull traffic from pakistan and other middle eastern countries which to be fair have sizeable traffic to canada.

  10. Does AC not codeshare with AI? AI has a focus city in DXB and it’d make sense for connecting traffic to pick up to a plethora of Indian destinations

  11. Some of the biggest AI phobes are expat Indians and although AC & them are both in STAR AC has chosen to use 9W over LHR rather than AI. On the other hand if you want Aeroplan premium to Asia you will experience the delights of DEL or BOM.
    I would have thought 7/7 77W to DXB would have made no sense but as you know Sir Tim is fixated on his 388s. Besides he has to have something to do with those loss makers.
    Oh yeah: AC DXB is also prime redemption route in J with of course, connections to AI.

  12. Service and attitude on Air Canada is poor.
    I think Emirates would even fly to Saskatchewan if they were allowed to!

  13. We’re on a family trip and needed to get 10 of us from Montreal to CMB and our agent got us UL tickets with AC via DXB.

    A shame Qatar can’t increase their frequency into YUL as J is always full and seldom able to get reward flights.

  14. I have only flown Air Canada’s DXB-YYZ route for once, and the flight was packed by Indian passengers. And I recall that I was flying back from DXB to California, Air Canada was the only one offering one-way tickets below $900.

    So I assume that AC’s flight is more for passengers traveling between Canada and Indian cities other than DEL/BOM (given that AI has 7 destinations from DXB minus DEL&BOM), as well as passengers traveling to DXB from anywhere North America.

  15. So in other words, AC is doing exactly of what they accuse ME3 of doing. Offering low fares ex-USA connecting via Canada to third countries.

  16. ME carriers ex-Pearson Airport have got quite a bit pricier these days leaving the budget traveller behind. AC/SLA and Oman Air are options for these folks. I wonder whether the price increase is a sweetener for AC; it will not jeopardize the juicy AC/SLA connection.

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