AMERICAS: Air Canada CEO slams Emirates plan

The CEO of Air Canada, Calin Rovinescu, has sharply rebuked recent efforts by UAE-based Emirates to expand its services to Canada. “Air Canada and other international airlines such as China Airlines, EVA Air, Korean Airlines and Japan Airlines all depend upon a certain amount of connection traffic beyond their respective hubs to make their pointto- […]


The CEO of Air Canada, Calin Rovinescu, has sharply rebuked recent efforts by UAE-based Emirates to expand its services to Canada. “Air Canada and other international airlines such as China Airlines, EVA Air, Korean Airlines and Japan Airlines all depend upon a certain amount of connection traffic beyond their respective hubs to make their pointto- point service profitable.

“If Emirates pours seats into a market where there is minimal point-to-point demand, it will sop up passengers from these other airlines,” Rovinescu argued.

He also went on to deride his rival’s recent assertion that more flights to Canada from Dubai will spark CDN$480-million of annual economic activity and 2,800 new jobs, calling the numbers “the stuff of fairy tales” and “subterfuge.”

Emirates wants to provide twice-daily service to Toronto, up from its current three flights a week, as well as service to Vancouver and Calgary from Dubai.

Rovinescu argued that while more competition looks good for consumers, the long-term result would be “devastating” for the Canadian airline industry.

He warned of fewer jobs, fewer cities served by direct connections to international destinations, and less economic activity.

“While its argument may be seductive, what Emirates’ strategy will do is constrain the growth of Canadian airports by turning them from hubs into stubs at the end of a spoke that leads only to Emirates’ hub in Dubai,” he said.