Abu Dhabi airline seeks Open Skies with Canada


Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways wants an Open Skies agreement with Canada.

“We’re very keen to be able to expand our services out of Toronto,” chief executive James Hogan told the Financial Post Friday.

He is visiting the country to meet with government officials about getting increased access to Pearson International Airport.

Regulations in Canada limit the amount of flights to the U.A.E. to six per week. Dubai-based Emirates Air and Etihad each fly three times a week.

Etihad is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines. It has been aggressively expanding its fleet and worldwide destinations over the past few years.

This summer it placed one of the largest aviation orders in commercial history: 205 planes for US$43-billion.

Etihad is also looking at building its brand within North America. The airline has several sports related sponsorships in Europe, and Mr. Hogan said he is looking at opportunities with North American sports teams.

Etihad eventually wants to fly out of cities like Vancouver or Calgary, but not until it can secure daily flights out of Toronto, Mr. Hogan said.

“[In the U.A.E.] we have an open skies environment and we would love to see a Canadian airline fly anywhere within the U.A.E. every day,” he said.