UAE turns back plane carrying Defense Minister Peter MacKay

Move follows breakdown of discussions on landing rights


The United Arab Emirates forced a plane carrying Defense Minister Peter MacKay to divert to Italy on Monday. The move is seen as an indication of new diplomatic hostility between the two nations after diplomatic talks broke down last week. Dubai has been lobbying Ottawa for years to allow the country’s two airlines, Etihad and Emirates, to land more flights in Canada. The airlines are currently allowed to land only six flights per week in Toronto. Canada has stated that more flights aren’t necessary, but the UAE maintains that more flights to Toronto, plus flights to Calgary and Vancouver, should be allowed. Air Canada also flies to the UAE, where over 27,000 Canadians currently live. Canada announced last week that it would remove its formerly-secret air base, Camp Mirage, from the country’s soil. Bilateral trade between the two nations is worth $1.5-billion annually.

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UAE turns back plane carrying Defense Minister Peter MacKay

  1. The geniuses at Emirates and Etihad who thought intimidating Canada into handing over landing rights should be fired and kicked out of the UAE. Blackmail may be the way business is done in the sandbox but up here it generally just causes people to tell you to go to hell.

    One more relevant point. ALL of Emirates North American flights must pass thru Canadian airspace on the way to Dubai. Ponder what would happen to Emirates overflights of Canadian airspace from LA, San Francisco, New York and Houston to Dubai if you try your nonsense again.

    • Good point, but let's keep that in our back pocket and try reasonableness before the entire diplomatic relationship is ruined. Of course, if the Emirates are going to ruin it anyway, then's the time to pull that out. They have the right to kick our air base out. We have the right to limit flights to Canada. Done. Let's just end this there.

      • Agreed!

    • While I don't think either side has covered themselves in glory, Canada IS being protectionist by blocking Emirates Airlines. Now Canada does have the soveriegn right to be protectionist in awarding landing rights to protect Air Canada just as Canada has the right to impose supply management on dairy products that always gets Coyne excited. I do have to note that during the G20 summit in Toronto Harper and Flaherty specifically called on nations to further open free trade. Now it should come to no suprise that perhaps Harper and Flaherty were being hypocrictical which just as they are hypocrictial on the subject of supply management. I do hope that people remember Harper and Flaherty's support of free trade or lack thereof the next time the softwood lumber dispute heats up. Just as Canada has the soveriegn right to keep out Emirates airlines the United States has the soveriegn right to restrict softwood lumber imports.

      • How I wish we could turn away a UAE airline that carries UAE officials, but then we are bigger than that.

  2. Looks good on him. LOL

  3. Air Canada also flies to the UAE,

    Correction. Air Canada does not fly to the UAE. It has never shown any inkling to do so. Its passengers who wish to travel there are routed through Europe on its code -sharing partners.

  4. Abu Dhabi: The UAE said Tuesday it was disappointed over the Canadian government's attempts to leak distorted information about commercial landing rights and described them as “fear tactics.”

    “This deliberate leak with misinformation reminds us of the policies of fear tactics of the Neo Cons of not so distant past,” a UAE official source said.

    He was commenting on Canadian media reports which claimed the UAE had turned away a plane carrying top officials with the Canadian government and military.

    • We know where your loyalty lies, so no surprise there either.

  5. The scene, a magnificent lush golf course on the end of a sea.

    Russian general: Nice shot emir! I thought I had you when you went into that big sandtrap!

    Emir: You are very generous my friend, so how have you been.

    Russian general: That whacko Putin is really giving me grief. Seems like every time we run a routine airflight up north, the Canadian press get the idea that their air force has intimidated us into retreating. I say who cares? Putin reminds me that similar things were said in 72.

    Emir: Canadians, I thought they were only aggressive on skates, not in the air.

    Russian general: Seems this Peter MacKay fellow likes to use us as a scapegoat any time he can get away with it. pisses me off.

    Emir: Hmm, that lovely Belinda was around last week, seems he pissed her off too.

    Russian general: I have no idea what to do about the guy.

    Emir: Let me see what I can do for you.

  6. I agree with you when it comes to opening our air to more competition, but to use it as bargaining (blackmail) tactic against security issue is a non starter. First of all, Canada is there aiding UAE and other nations to counter terrorism. Had they requested this with reciprocal trade concessions, we might have seen a more favorable results. But then UAE has no willingness in reciprocal trading concessions with its oil rival.

  7. Emirates is jeopardizing their entire North American route structure. Are they really that dumb?

    Ask Aeroflot if they learned their lesson:

    Nov 2003…
    The dispute began last month when Russian authorities refused permission for Air Canada to fly over Russian airspace on a new nonstop route from Toronto to New Delhi. The Russian government claimed the flights do not meet the terms of an aviation treaty signed in 2000, but Air Canada believes it was refused permission to prevent the airline from competing with Russian carriers.

    In response, the Canadian government banned all flights passing over Canada by Russian carrier Aeroflot, including flights from Russia to the U.S., and it cut Aeroflot's Moscow-Toronto flights from four a week to two. In another tit-for-tat move, Russia canceled Air Canada's overflight rights for its Vancouver-Beijing route. "We believe under the [bilateral] agreement we have every right to use [the route over Russia], but Russia disagrees with our interpretation," Chen said…

    In the end Russia backed down because they could not afford the cost to divert around Canadian airspace.

  8. UAE airlines has been causing havoc in Australia and most of Europe's airline industries. Are UAE airlines given oil concessions to unfairly compete on countries where they are given landing rights?

  9. They are a bunch of spoiled inbreeds. Dont give it to them. They are mot use to the word NO.