Wednesday,  April 24, 2019  8:31 pm



Industry friends join Emirates & partners to hear of new developments and growing Canadian presence
Terrilyn Kunopaski

Duncan Bureau, vice president of sales, WestJet; Richard Eve, The RMR Group Inc./Jumeirah, Jessica Herring, manager, promotions, Dubai representative office in North America & Don McWilliam, manager - Canada, Emirates

Travel agents, tour operators, consolidators and other industry representatives were on hand at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel last night at an event hosted by Emirates Airlines and its partners.

After cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, guests listened in on presentations by Emirates, WestJet, Jumeirah and the Dubai tourism office. 

With the intention first to say “thanks for support” and second to celebrate a successful 2011 for the airline, Don McWilliam, Emirates manager in Canada, welcomed guests by giving an overview of what the past year has meant for the airline.

One major milestone in Canada was the September 2011 announcement of an interline agreement between Emirates and WestJet, which Duncan Bureau, vice president of sales, WestJet, pointed out was the coming together of two of the world’s most profitable airlines.

It was Emirates’ 23rd consecutive year of profit, with group profit up a whopping 42.9 per cent to USD$1.6 billion and airline profit of USD$1.5 billion.

The partnership allows Canadians from across the country to travel to Dubai via WestJet from 20 cities across Canada. When ticketing an Emirates through fare, travellers will receive boarding passes at their first point of check-in and can through-check two bags to their final Emirates destination free of charge.

Savio Pires, new west coast sales manager, Emirates

In addition to Emirates’ three flights weekly to Dubai, the airline is also anticipating the launch of a new Seattle route, which will kick off March 1. The airline is working to attract Canadians from areas such as Kelowna, Vancouver and Calgary to the new gateway and in an effort to reach out more strongly to Western Canada, has appointed its first-ever west coast sales manager, Savio Pires.

Regardless if Canadians choose to fly via Seattle or via Toronto, the Emirates network extends far beyond its Dubai hub to 119 destinations in 70 countries.

Even still, Jessica Herring, manager, promotions for the Dubai representative office in North America, emphasized the importance of recommending clients stopping over in Dubai take advantage of the opportunity to see the city.

“It adds an enormous amount of wealth to any product you have to offer,” she said.

Through the Dubai Stopover program with Emirates’ Canadian partner Kompas Express, travellers can obtain a free 36-hour visa, a 96-hour visa for USD$44 or a 30-day visa for USD$57. As Dubai continues to grow as an international hub, there are efforts being made to make the 96-hour visa free of charge as well, however nothing has been confirmed.

Winner of grand prize, Norman Clayton, Aladdin Travel with his wife

McWilliam explained that according to reports from The Canadian Press, passenger traffic in Dubai is expected to increase 7.2 per cent annually over the next 10 years, and Dubai Airport is expected to push London Heathrow from the number one spot as the world’s busiest airport in the world.

Herring told that arrivals to Dubai from Canada slumped 30 per cent in 2009 when the issue of visa’s was initially announced, but now, the city is expecting to see a 7.1 per cent increase in Canadian arrivals alone.

Emirates continues to be an award-winning airline and Herring said she expects being aligned with a trusted brand such as WestJet will continue to garner attention from the Canadian market.

Last night's presentations concluded with a draw for two business class tickets to Dubai as well as overnights at Jumeirah, which was won by Norman Clayton of Aladdin Travel.