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Canadian Muslim
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
By ADAM SCHRECK
The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 9, 2010; 8:07 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The United Arab Emirates will soon force Canadians to get a visa to travel to the Persian Gulf federation as ties sour between the once-close countries.

The new requirement announced by the UAE's embassy in Ottawa comes amid an increasingly bitter spat centered on landing rights for Emirati airliners. The dispute has already cost Canada access to a military air base that is a crucial link in the supply line for its mission in Afghanistan.

Previously Canadians, like travelers from the U.S., much of Europe and a number of other countries, generally didn't have to apply for a visa before coming to the Emirates and simply had their passports stamped on arrival.

That visa waiver policy will no longer apply to Canada because relations had dipped to a point where they were "neither healthy nor hopeful," according to an official source in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi with knowledge of the matter.
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"The visa waivers are granted to countries with a special relationship ... built on economic and other areas of close and growing cooperation," said the person, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about diplomatic matters. "The current status of relations with the government in Canada compared with other countries on the visa waiver program is at a much lower level... It isn't fair to include it with countries with which we have a healthy and productive relationship."

Emiratis need a visa to travel to Canada.

Some 25,000 Canadians live in the Emirates, which is Canada's largest trade partner in the Middle East, according to the UAE. About 200 Canadian companies have operations in the Gulf state.

Jacques Labrie, a spokesman for Canada's Foreign Affairs minister, confirmed that all Canadians traveling to the UAE will need visas beginning Jan. 2.

"All sovereign states have the right to decide the entry requirements for visitors to their countries," Labrie said in an e-mail.

Emirati officials have ratcheted up the pressure on Ottawa after failing to secure additional landing rights for their growing government-backed airlines.

Abu Dhabi last month moved to bar Canada from using a secretive air base outside Dubai that was expected to play an important role in the drawdown of Canadian troops and equipment from Afghanistan. Canada contributes about 2,900 troops to the NATO-led mission.

A UAE official has said the Emirates lobbied against Canada's bid for a non-permanent United Nations Security Council seat. Canada pulled out of the race after falling behind rivals in an early round of voting in what was seen as a significant setback for the G-7 economic power.

The UAE has pushed Canada for years to win greater access for its state-run carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways, arguing they should be allowed more flights to keep up with demand. The two carriers are growing rapidly by launching long-haul routes that funnel travelers through their hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for connecting flights.

Air Canada has argued against increasing the flights, saying little passenger traffic originates from the UAE. It says the airlines are merely taking Canadians to third countries with stopovers in the Gulf.

Emirates and Etihad each run three flights a week to Canada, from Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.

Emirates, the Mideast's largest airline, uses its biggest plane, the double-decker Airbus A380, on the Dubai-Toronto route. It says the route - served by a wide-body Boeing 777-300ER until June 1 last year - averaged occupancy levels of more than 90 percent throughout 2009, the most recent year for which it had figures available.

Word of the new visa rules comes just over a month after the UAE dropped its threat to ban key data features on BlackBerry smart phones. The devices, popular with affluent UAE residents, are made by Research in Motion Ltd., one of Canada's most prominent companies.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/09/AR2010110901892.html
 

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Canadian Muslim
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First they target our gov't by lobbying against our united nations seat, secondly they target our companies (RIM), now the Canadian people!..

I live in the U.A.E, and I'm not liking this at all! ...
 

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Reaaalllyy stupid move by the UAE. They continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

Really a playground spat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Air France CEO Calls for EU Curbs on Expansion by Gulf Carriers

By Laurence Frost and Andrea Rothman

Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, chief executive officer for Air France-KLM Group. Photographer: Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg

Air France-KLM Group is teaming up with Europe’s biggest airlines to push for European Union action to slow the encroachment of Emirates and other Gulf carriers, saying the region’s status as an air-travel hub is under threat.

“Europe is at the crossroads of international air travel, and this is a role we need to value and defend,” Air France Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said in an interview. “What we’re telling the authorities is that we need a strategy that gives us a chance to resist.”

Gourgeon, British Airways Plc CEO Willie Walsh and Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Wolfgang Mayrhuber are among executives scheduled to attend a meeting of the Association of European Airlines on Oct. 15 in London. They will discuss a joint push with American rivals for a change to the export-guarantee regime and the trans-Atlantic trade agreement that enshrines it, said Christian de Barrin, a spokesman of the Brussels-based industry group.

For the past two decades, the U.S. and Europe have agreed to withhold export credit guarantees from airlines registered in five countries where Airbus SAS and Boeing Co. airliners are built: Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the U.S. This means many European and all American carriers are denied cheaper government-backed plane financing available to rivals from countries including Gulf states.

‘Home-Country’ Rule

The role of export financing has ballooned since the credit crunch reduced banks’ willingness to lend. The share of plane deliveries covered by government guarantees more than doubled to 34 percent in 2009, Airbus and Boeing figures show.

“Our ability to fund the acquisition of new aircraft is handicapped by the so-called ‘home-country’ rule,” BA spokesman Paul Marston said. “These guarantees are not operating in the way they were intended -- and we therefore urge the EU to amend the rules to remove the competitive distortions that have developed.”

In a policy paper published on its website last week, Lufthansa called for an end to “market imbalances” resulting from export-credit financing, saying “basic rules of regulatory policy are being disregarded.”

Emirates, the biggest Gulf carrier, already pays very little in the way of airport charges or fuel tax at its Dubai hub, as well as escaping many of the social charges that weigh on European companies, Air France’s Gourgeon said. Those benefits could generate 3 billion euros ($4.2 billion) of operating income if applied to Air France-KLM, he said.

No Tax?

“When you’re supported in this way you can offer the end product at very low prices,” the CEO said in the Oct. 7 interview at Air France’s headquarters near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. “They don’t pay tax -- they don’t even have a word for it.”

European carriers may also seek action under EU Regulation 868, which imposes protective duties on foreign carriers that use subsidies or other forms of “non-commercial advantage” to undercut prices, the AEA’s de Barrin said.

“When so many entities and economies around the world are being shored up by governments in order to survive, it is surprising to single out Emirates with unsubstantiated claims of being subsidized,” President Tim Clark said in comments e- mailed to Bloomberg. “We have grown without subsidy through the success of our commercially-driven business model -- and see no reason to apologize for what we have achieved.”

Qatar, Etihad


The European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s executive arm, said it aims to settle the matter through the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“The commission believes the solution to this issue will be found in the renegotiation of the OECD sector understanding on export credits for civil aircraft,” John Clancy, trade spokesman, said by e-mail from Brussels. “The commission is working towards this goal on behalf of the EU member states but of course appreciates all dialogue with the relevant stakeholders.”

Emirates overtook Lufthansa last year as the biggest carrier on international flights, following a sixfold increase in traffic since 2000, when it ranked 24th. British Airways, top in 2000, now stands fourth in the International Air Transport Association ranking, which treats Air France and KLM as separate airlines.

Airbus and Boeing together have outstanding orders for 102 widebody planes from Qatar Airways, 59 from Etihad Airways and 175 from Emirates, which has already taken delivery of 13 of the 90 Airbus A380 superjumbos it has ordered in total.

Level Playing Field

The U.S. Export-Import Bank guaranteed $414 million of Emirates bonds last year to fund the purchase three Boeing 777 jets, an example of the cheaper financing that would be off limits for Lufthansa or Southwest Airlines Inc.

“There’s definitely an argument that there needs to be a level playing field in financing,” said Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners. “Any pressure that France, Britain and Germany can bring to bear makes good sense.”

For investment-grade U.S. carriers, cost savings from the agency-guaranteed financing they are denied would amount to 3 percent of total loan value annually, according to Air France data comparing the spreads on guaranteed debt with those of commercially traded plane-financing notes over the past two years.

“That’s a lot of money,” Marc Verspyck, the French carrier’s senior vice president for finance, said in an interview. In addition to the actual savings, eligibility for guarantees cuts financing risk when ordering planes, he said.

Manchester Route

Air France rose 1.4 percent to 12 euros at the 5:30 p.m. close of trading in Paris. Lufthansa slipped 0.4 percent to 14.35 euros on the Frankfurt exchange. British Airways gained 1.6 percent to 268.4 pence in London.

European airlines may struggle to maintain efficient connections as Middle Eastern carriers lure more passengers away with new destinations, Gourgeon said. He cited Emirates’s introduction of an Airbus A380 superjumbo flying between Dubai and Manchester, northern England.

“It will progressively become more difficult for British Airways to have enough passengers to offer the same frequency of flights to Hong Kong,” the CEO said. Traffic through Paris, Milan and Munich would also suffer, he said.

If left unchecked, the competitive imbalance between the Gulf and Europe will eventually lead to a mass shift in stopover traffic, and other economic activities, to Middle Eastern hubs, Gourgeon said.

“I think it’s very dangerous for Europe,” he said. “What they’re trying to do is buy our jobs.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Laurence Frost in Paris at [email protected] Andrea Rothman in Paris at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at [email protected]; Benedikt Kammel at [email protected]

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-...r-eu-curbs-on-expansion-by-gulf-carriers.html
 

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“The Conservative government’s incompetence has turned minor problems in Canada-UAE relations into a crisis,” said Paul Dewar, the Foreign Affairs critic for the NDP.

“This is an unprecedented step that will have a major impact on travel and business between Canada and the UAE. Last week, it cost our military $300-million to scramble out of our base in the UAE – now this. The government has to be held accountable for its failure to maintain what used to be a strong relationship between Canada and UAE.”
I'm getting a little annoyed at the rhetoric from certain parties about how this is our own fault. How about some backbone?
 

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I think its due time our government does something though. As it stands right now, it seems as if they are just sitting on their hands while the relationship worsens. Maybe we are waiting till all our troops are pulled out of UAE to impose some retaliatory measures? I think taking away spots from Emirates and Etihad would be the most logical move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Air France KLM chief warns Emirates over expansion

By Shane McGinley

Emirates Airline’s global expansion plans will be increasingly challenged by governments' reluctance to agree more traffic rights, a senior executive at Air France KLM reportedly said in New York earlier this week.

The Dubai-based airline is likely to face "more and more reluctance [by governments] to grant traffic rights," Peter Hartman, chief executive of the KLM unit of Air-France-KLM, and a member of the airline's governing board, told the Dow Jones Newswires in New York.

At the Berlin Air Show earlier this month, Emirates announced it had signed a $11.5bn deal to buy 32 additional A380 ‘superjumbo’ aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus. This was in addition to the 48 Airbus 380s, 70 Airbus 350s, 18 Boeing 777-300s and seven Boeing air freighters on order, totaling 143 wide-body aircraft worth more than $48bn at list price.

However, the carrier’s ambitious expansion plans are encountering obstacles around the globe, as governments implement increasingly protectionist policies to safeguard their own national carriers.

Recently, an unsourced report in the French La Tribune newspaper said the French government had rejected requests to allow Emirates to obtain more landing slots in Paris and had only agreed to one new landing slot, between Dubai and the French city of Lyon. Emirates has also been refused permission to increase its capacity to Canada and South Korea and is also embroiled in a fare dispute with the German government, which last year forced it to raise its rates on some routes to Germany so that it did not undercut EU carriers.


An Emirates spokesperson told Arabian Business in an emailed statement on Thursday that “the decision on airport slots are negotiated by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and the aeronautical authorities of the governments involved.”

The chances of European countries blocking route applications from Gulf carriers are slim because of the impact that would have on Airbus, said Richard Aboulafia, vice president at Fairfax, Virginia based consultant Teal Group.

The planemaker has plants in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, has 280 orders for its A380 and A350 models from Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi.

“The Middle East is grabbing market share from legacy airlines and European governments seem willing to make that sacrifice," Aboulfia added.

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/air-france-klm-chief-warns-emirates-over-expansion-292985.html
 

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I think its due time our government does something though. As it stands right now, it seems as if they are just sitting on their hands while the relationship worsens. Maybe we are waiting till all our troops are pulled out of UAE to impose some retaliatory measures? I think taking away spots from Emirates and Etihad would be the most logical move.
+1
 

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Uhmmm.... the funny thing is, it will only inhibit tourism from Canada to the UAE (if there is any left, that is). I don't think they are being very mature, diplomatically, to be
upping the ante like this.
Like the Conservatives or not, they're behaving the way a government from a mature western democracy behaves. Restraint and diplomacy is the way to go. The UAE are behaving like spoiled children. Let them have their hissy fit, Canada won't play those games.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well,,, I did some reading on this issue. And our govt is protecting Air Canada. I was on Air Canada a few days ago. The food and services were appalling. I dont think I'll be flying Air Canada again. KLM was much much better in contrast.

I think approving landing rights not only for Emirates/Etihad but other foreign airlines will be good for Canada, Canadians and our cities. It will bring more competition, force Air Canada to improve there services and standards. .. more competition will lead to competitive rates, and more carrier options for travellers seeking to travel abroad.

Competition is always healthy for the consumers, but not for the companies (Air Canada) ... Moreover, Canada, Canadians and the Emiratis are the losers, the only winner I see emerging from this blockade is is Air Canada...

Emirates Airline's flagship A380 "superjumbo" made a return to the Dubai-New York route yesterday, helping to lift the world's largest airline's capacity to the US by half.

US authorities have welcomed the new capacity from Emirates, which includes the recent launch of twice-daily flights to Houston and Los Angeles, in contrast with the stance of nations such as Canada, Germany and France, where governments have blocked access to the Dubai-based carrier.

Emirates is now operating 49 flights per week to four American gateways, the new services will generate a raft of benefits for trade, commerce and tourism.

A 2007 study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation found one long-haul flight a day to the airport generates $623.5 million (Dh2.28 billion) in annual economic benefits, sustains 3,120 jobs in southern California and produces $156m in annual wages.
http://www.thenational.ae/business/aviation/emirates-puts-a380-back-on-new-york-route

Opening up the Canadian airspace to foreign airlines will help increase tourism, trade and will bring new jobs to the cities, and revenue for the airports.

A flight between Calgary and Dubai would be good to boost oil trade between the two. But our govt' is too conservative as it seems.

We are busy focusing on trade with the U.S, I think its about time we start developing new trade ties outside North America..
 

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Yes Competition is healthy. That is a given. But competition on an even playing field is what works. Not when one has a hand up over the other. That is not competition.

What I would like to know is if we open the floodgates and allow every airline to do what they want, if and when AC goes bust, will you be willing to pay more taxes in order to support the 20,000+ Canadians that will be out of work? What about those brand spanking new airport constructed or under construction across the country? Whom is going to pay the fees to keep them going? Do you really believe that WS or AT will be able to absorb those international routes that AC has?

Reality is that there should be more competition. I totally agree and I am sorry that your experience on AC was not the best. Mine have always been good. No issues but then again I am usually in Business Class. When I compare AC to the likes of United, Continental, Delta and so on, I can see a HUGE difference. I am rather tall and it is not fun when you are in Economy with with your knees to the seat in front.

If you note, it is not only Canada and Europe, the article states that South Korea has also refused more slots. Seems the ill winds are spreading beyond Europe and North America.

All I have to say is play fair or don't play at all. When that happens then we can truly see the benefits of an open and free market and the benefits to consumers. That applies to AC just as well as the others.
 

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Competition on a level playing field? I don't think Canada plays by those rules anyway, forcing AC to run a government mandate to fly even loss-making routes to keep the country connected, and now protecting it from international competition. The fact that the market opens means the best survivor is left standing. I don't think AC stands much chance if the floodgates open and other real competitors start moving in. So what is a level playing field? If others can run leaner cost structures, are they suddenly not on a level playing field? And it's OK for AC to get protection to be less efficient?

So in order to sustain more jobs than economically efficient by protecting our national carrier, are we willing to pour more tax dollars to make this protectionism work, or let those jobs that shouldn't be there go when real capitalism takes over? Food for thought.

Emirates has certainly stirred up a lot of attention globally wherever it goes. They've successfully bargained for lots of concessions and are very good at lobbying their government. I can also say that's true for AC. When they were going under, Ottawa came to bail them out. Only AC is not as good at doing that all the way and grabbing every good deal with Ottawa than EK.
 

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Well Air Canada received a bailout package of $1 billion CAD, $600 million of which came from the Canadian government.

While Emirates does not receive any subsidies from the government, and Air Canada has received government loans to prevent bankruptcy, isn't it really Air Canada that is government supported?

And of course the Canadian government needs to make good on its investment in Air Canada, so no wonder the government wants to keep Emirates out.
 

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I don't understand all the negative criticism of Air Canada's service. I've flown with them both domestically and internationally and found the service and flight attendants very nice, and there was nothing wrong with the food. The only negative thing I can say about Air Canada is that their flights are quite expensive. I've flown with numerous other carriers and can't say they were any better, and many were worse.
 

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UAE Envoy Explains Tit For Tat Visa Demand

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...lains-tit-for-tat-visa-demand/article1791860/

“Reciprocity” – not retaliation – is the official explanation for a decision by the United Arab Emirates to impose visa requirements on Canadian travellers in the new year.

Visitors from the UAE currently need a visa to enter Canada, and the new rules will simply level the playing field, says a statement from the Gulf country's ambassador in Ottawa.


“The policy is based on a policy of reciprocity,” Ambassador Mohamed Abdulla Al Ghafli said via his office Tuesday.

The line was echoed by officials at the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa.

“In 2009 the UAE made a decision to pursue visa reciprocity with many countries, including Canada, that did not offer UAE citizens visa-free access,” spokesman Jacques Labrie said in an email.

“The UAE government is now implementing its 2009 decision.”

Neither the Canadian nor UAE official line alluded to the continuing dispute over commercial airline landing rights that has soured relations between the two countries and led to the Canadian Forces being evicted from a key military transit base near Dubai.

However, behind the scenes, officials in the Emirates and in Ottawa with knowledge of the dispute confirm that is the root of the visa decision.

Relations with Canada have reached the point where they are “neither healthy nor hopeful,” an official source in Abu Dhabi told The Associated Press.

“The visa waivers are granted to countries with a special relationship ... built on economic and other areas of close and growing co-operation,” said the person, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about diplomatic matters.

“The current status of relations with the government in Canada compared with other countries on the visa-waiver program is at a much lower level. ... It isn't fair to include it with countries with which we have a healthy and productive relationship.”

A source in Ottawa said negotiations over access to Canadian airports ended badly after Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon won an extension of the Camp Mirage lease last June by promising to resolve the dispute. Canada had been using the base rent-free since 2001.

Instead, said the source, Canada offered only to permit one more flight per week to Canada, but not to Toronto, and then followed up with a second offer that “actually involved a capacity cut from the current agreement.”

“There was a sense that Canada was insulting the UAE because they had agreed at the ministerial level to try and negotiate a fair deal on air access and then proceeded to offer nothing of value,” the source said.

The UAE informed Ottawa in October that it had a month to clear out of Camp Mirage. The base was a critical logistics and supply point for Canada's 2,750 troops in Afghanistan and its loss is complicating withdrawal plans for Canadian soldiers next year.

Insult was added to injury when the UAE refused to allow Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk to land at Camp Mirage en route to Canada from Afghanistan last month.

There are about 25,000 Canadians living in the U.A.E., according to the oil-rich country's embassy website.
 

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^^so Canada receives rent free use of the base for 10 years, and wins an extension of the lease based on a promise to work out the air access dispute.

Canadian citizens have been receiving visa waivers, but the Canadian government does not grant reciprocity to the UAE.

After all these years of Canada taking from the UAE and not giving anything in return, I don't understand how you are surprised the UAE is withdrawing all the things it gave Canada.

Canada cannot bully around the UAE without expecting some kind of negative response.
 
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