Emirates announced on Friday that it would add additional flights on its popular Dubai to Toronto route just days after Canada and the United Arab Emirates signed an expanded air services agreement.
Canada has a tightly controlled commercial air market, and international airlines are not always free to simply start up new routes to Canada or increase the number of flights on existing routes.
The UAE’s two national carriers, Emirates and Etihad Airways, had already maxed out the previously agreed 14-flight-per-week cap that Canada and the UAE had agreed, and weren’t able to add more services to Canada, resulting in demand regularly outstripping supply.
The expanded air services agreement, which was signed on Wednesday, has increased the cap to 21 flights per week for each country, and Emirates has already announced how it is going to use some of its allowance by expanding its presence in Toronto.
Emirates has been limited to operating a five-weekly service to Toronto and will expand the route to a daily service using the airline’s flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo.
The airline said on Friday that the new flights would add nearly 2,000 seats per week on the Dubai to Toronto route, representing a capacity increase of around 40 per cent.
“Demand arising from leisure and corporate travellers, diaspora and students has consistently outstripped the allocated capacity,” commented Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer.
“This enhanced agreement represents a turning point for us in our strategy to serve our customers better by offering more choice and flexibility and meet pent-up demand across our growing network,” Kazim continued.
Canada first signed its air services agreement with the IAE in 1999, and it had remained unchanged since it was expanded in 2018.
It remains to be seen whether Emirates or Etihad will launch a new Canadian route, but there is a widespread belief that Vancouver could prove a valuable destination of interest for both airlines.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.