Last week, Transport Canada announced an expanded air transport agreement between Canada and the United Arab Emirates. The agreement allows for up to 21 flights per week for each country.
As it turns out, Emirates and Etihad Airways have quickly reacted to this development, and have both scheduled daily service between their hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Toronto in the near future.
Emirates & Etihad Airways to Offer Daily Service to Toronto
The latest expansion of the air transport agreement between Canada and the United Arab Emirates aims to increase connectivity, facilitate new routes, and support tourism and trade. Currently, three airlines operate flights between Canada and the United Arab Emirates:
- Air Canada flies between Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Dubai (DXB)
- Emirates flies between Dubai (DXB) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ)
- Etihad Airways flies between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ)
Soon after the agreement was announced, Emirates was the first to react, and will soon increase its flight frequency to daily.
As of April 20, 2023, Emirates will fly daily between Dubai (DXB) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ) using its mammoth Airbus A380 aircraft. Passengers can choose from economy, business class, and First Class cabins, with a total of up to 491 seats available.
The flight from Dubai to Toronto runs exactly 14 hours, while the flight from Toronto to Dubai measures 12 hours and 45 minutes. The flights have been loaded in the Emirates booking engine, and can be booked using cash or points.
Similarly, Etihad Airways has announced its intention to offer daily service between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ).
As of May 30, 2023, Etihad Airways will fly daily between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ) using its two-cabin Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Passengers can choose between economy and business class for the long-haul flight, which offers up to 299 seats onboard.
The westbound flight from Abu Dhabi to Toronto also clocks in at 14 hours, while the westbound flight measures 12 hours and 45 minutes, too.
The flights have been loaded into Etihad Airways’s search engine, and are bookable using cash and points.
How to Book These Routes Using Points
Both Emirates and Etihad Airways are Aeroplan partner airlines, which means that in theory, you should be able to book the direct flights between Toronto and Dubai or Abu Dhabi using Aeroplan points.
It’s also worth noting that you can book the flights using the airlines’ own loyalty programs, Emirates Skywards and Etihad Guest, respectively. While you’ll have access to a broader range of inventory, the pricing isn’t quite as attractive as it is with Aeroplan.
Recall that Emirates has its own award chart with Aeroplan, which is different than the usual cost of booking with partner airlines. Rather than having a fixed price, you can expect to pay a range of prices depending on the time of year, class of service, and other factors.
The direct flight measures just under 7,000 miles, and therefore prices out in the third distance band. A flight in economy should cost between 40,000–85,000 points, a flight in business class can cost between 80,000–185,000 points, and a flight in First Class can cost between 225,000–475,000 points.
Aeroplan availability on this route tends to be quite good, and you can also find multiple seats available in the various classes of service.
Since the pricing with Emirates on this route happens to be higher than what we might prefer, it can be an excellent use of a Priority Reward to make the cost much more palatable. This is especially the case for Super Elites, whose Priority Rewards knock 50% off the cost of a business class redemption.
As for Etihad Airways, flights are subject to the “Between North America and Atlantic zones” section of the Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart. Also at just under 7,000 miles, a direct flight with Etihad Airways should cost 55,000 points in economy or 90,000 points in business class.
Historically, Etihad Airways was fairly predictable in releasing two business class award seats on long-haul routes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single business class award seat available on the direct flights between Toronto and Abu Dhabi for the next year in either direction.
Hopefully, this changes in the near future, as the direct routing represented an excellent way to connect from Toronto to the rest of Etihad Airways’s network, including the Indian Subcontinent, the Maldives, South East Asia, and even Australia.
There are seats available in economy for 55,000 points, as expected.
It’s also worth noting that you can sometimes find attractive pricing with Air Canada on its Toronto–Dubai route, which is operated by a three-cabin Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Despite being subject to dynamic pricing with Aeroplan, keep an eye out for business class flights that price out at the lower end of the dynamic spectrum. You may even find multiple seats available for 85,000 points!
Last week, Transport Canada announced the expansion of the air transport agreement between Canada and the United Arab Emirates, which allows for up to 21 flights per week between the two countries. Emirates and Etihad Airways were both swift to react to this news, and will soon operate daily flights to Toronto from their hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively.
The goal of the expansion was to facilitate easier access between the countries, and to promote trade and tourism. While there was some speculation that the UAE carriers may look at expanding to other Canadian destinations, such as Montreal or Vancouver, there are currently no announced plans to do so.
As both airlines are Aeroplan partners, you can redeem points for flights between Canada and the UAE, and beyond. The flights are already loaded into the airlines’ booking engines, with less availability through loyalty programs.