Wednesday, January 19, 2011

UAE/Canada dispute rolls on

A headline that raises a question: "German airline enters fray, bolsters Ottawa’s stand against UAE." I think that what the Globe piece really signifies is that the German airline, who happens to be a partner airline with Air Canada, bolsters Air Canada's stand against Emirate airline bids for greater landing rights. It helps Air Canada's present day position that UAE airlines should not be granted greater commercial landing rights in Canada at this time because they have a sister airline abroad that shares the same view. Presumably though, if a business deal could be worked out, Air Canada would be right on board, as they've indicated they would be, in the past.

But that is all in the weeds for most Canadians. The question should be whether the Canadian government's entire relationship with the UAE is bound up with Air Canada's commercial interests. Was it worth losing the Camp Mirage base because of a commercial air landing rights dispute? Is it worth the ongoing ratcheting up of diplomatic tensions? Why has the national interest in relation to the UAE become subsumed in Air Canada's interests?

So while it's interesting to hear about Air Canada partner airline positions, the UAE relationship remains a festering problem for Canada.