(from left) Salem Obaidalla, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations, Americas; Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, UAE Ambassador to Canada; Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer; David Brozlippe Rainville, President and Chief Executive Officer of ADM Aéroports de Montréal, and Yves Lalumiere, CEO of Montreal Tourism during the cake cutting ceremony to mark the momentous occasion of Emirates' landmark inaugural flight to Montreal. Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Montreal: Montreal has become Emirates’ second gateway in Canada with the airline’s first flight touching down on Wednesday, July 5 at Quebec’s cultural capital.

The long-awaited flight from Dubai to Montreal was given a befitting welcome at the Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. The airline will operate daily flight between Dubai and Montreal which is the largest city in the French dominated Quebec Province and the second largest in Canada.

Montreal has become Emirates’ destination in Canada, complementing its passenger services to Toronto, which have been operating to Ontario’s capital city Toronto since 2007.   

Highlights of Emirates' inaugural flight from Dubai to Montreal Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Emirates now serves Canada with 14 flights per week — seven each to Toronto and Montreal. The new route will help the airline meet huge demand for international travel between Canada and the rest of the world.  

Diverse mix of demographics

Direct services between Dubai and Montréal are expected to meet demand from a diverse mix of demographics, including business and leisure travellers, in addition to visiting family and friends that consists of Canadians living and working in the UAE.

Not only than 45,000 Canadians living in the UAE benefit from this route but expats especially with extended families and children studying in Canada will be relieved to have extra capacity to travel to Canada. With Montréal being home to a number of world-class universities, the route is expected to become immensely popular amongst students from the Middle East, West and Central Asia and Far East. More than 250,000 students study in Montreal, according to available statistics.


Flight EK243 arrived in Montreal at 8.30am (local time) and was greeted with a procession of ‘follow-me vehicles to the gate. Even the ground staff at the airport tarmac pulled out their mobile phones to capture the historic moment. Senior officials and representatives from the aviation authorities were present to witness the touchdown, which also drew interest from aviation fans and media excited to capture the inaugural flight’s landing in Québec.

Emirates flight EK243 departed at 3am, on July 5 from Terminal 3 of the Dubai International Airport with 339 passengers, including a VIP delegation and media onboard.

Emirates executives onboard included: Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer; Salem Obaidalla, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations, Americas; and David Broz, Vice President Aeropolitical and Industry Affairs.

On arrival, the VIP delegation travelling from Dubai were welcomed by Serge Bijimine, Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, Transport Canada; Philippe Rainville — President and Chief Executive Officer of ADM Aéroports de Montréal, and other Canadian officials.

Welcome ceremony

Following a welcome ceremony and symbolic gift exchange between the airline and airport officials, Emirates showcased its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a three-class configuration to government representatives, media, guests and members of the travel trade industry. The aircraft features eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie flat seats in Business Class and 304 spacious seats in Economy Class for the daily service.

Adnan Kazim and Yves Lalumiere exchanging gifts at the ceremony at Montreal Airport to mark the inaugural Emirates' flight. Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Positive impact

Speaking at a crowded press conference soon after arrival at the airport in Montreal, Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer emphasised the significance of the new destination and said: “Emirates is excited to launch our service to Montréal, and to grow our network with a second gateway into Canada. We take this opportunity to thank the UAE and Canadian authorities and partners for supporting the launch of the service, which is expected to positively impact tourism, business and trade in both countries.

“We came with the full load on the inaugural flight and our first return flight is also full. We have a great start to this new route which is bound to be a big hit among travellers and business community between the two countries,” he added.

Kazim explained: “Complementing our services to Toronto, customers will now have more choice when planning trips to Canada — they now can fly directly to the country’s second largest metropolis whether for business, leisure, education or for visiting family and friends.

“Since we announced our plans to launch direct services to Montréal, we have witnessed healthy bookings from travellers planning trips to Canada from points in the UAE, India, Iran and Lebanon in addition to many Far East and African countries.

“We look forward to welcoming our customers onboard to experience our “fly better” proposition across all classes.”

Adnan Kazim presenting model of Boeing 777-300ER to Philippe Rainville — President and Chief Executive Officer of ADM Airports Montreal. Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Historic day

On the commencement of Emirates’ services to Montréal, Philippe Rainville — President and Chief Executive Officer of ADM Aéroports de Montréal welcomed the delegation and assured all possible support from the airport authorities. “Today is historic day for us to have Emirates flight providing first direct connection between Montreal and Dubai and beyond,” he added.

Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, UAE’s Ambassador to Canada Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Speaking to Gulf News, Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, UAE’s Ambassador to Canada, said that arrival of the Emirates flight to Montreal opens a new gateway for connectivity between UAE and Canada.

More business opportunities

“Daily flight creates more opportunities for business community in both the countries. This also allows travellers to have access to more destinations which are not covered directly from Montreal.

I believe this is a major milestone in enhancing relations between UAE and Canada. Bilateral relations between the two countries have been developing tremendously over the years and the new direct flight will further enhance these ties.

“UAE is the largest trading partner in the region and also UAE is the most connected country in the region. I congratulate Emirates for this wonderful inaugural flight today.

Yves Lalumiere, President Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Montreal speaking at the ceremony held at Montreal airport to mark the inaugural flight of Emirates from Dubai to Montreal Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Huge tribute

Speaking at the press conference Yves Lalumiere, President Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Montreal, paid huge tribute to Emirates and UAE saying: “This is by far one of the best news we have during the last five years. It is such a great honour to see ‘the world’s number one’ ranking airline Emirates flying to Montreal. Tourism Montreal today celebrate with great joy this daily service between Dubai and Montreal. We have a good start to our long term relationship with our friends in UAE.”

Emirates will operate its three-class Boeing 777-300ER on the route, featuring eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie flat seats in Business Class and over 300 spacious seats in Economy Class for the daily service.

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Cultural hub Montreal

Montréal is known for its fascinating neighbourhoods celebrating modern city style with a quaint old European feel, making the cultural hub a bucket list destination for locals, students and international travellers. Travellers can explore the famous Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal and visit the various museums nearby to discover how Montréal found its roots. Visits to Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the Phi Centre, enjoying the street performances, or major festivals, are a must on everyone’s bucket list.

Travellers can look forward to the shopper’s paradise with chic boutiques and malls along Rue Sainte-Catherine, which are also abundant with street art in the vibrant Plateau Mont-Royal. The destination is a favourite amongst foodies and is known for the culinary delights it has to offer, from the iconic Montréal bagels that rival New York, to low-to-high-end restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. The famous poutine — a classic French-Canadian dish of fries, gravy and cheese curds — is also not to be missed.

Trade between UAE and Canada

The UAE is Canada’s largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2022, bilateral trade between Canada and the UAE exceeded C$2.6 billion, growing 53% over the last five years. According to Statistics Canada, it is estimated the UAE’s foreign direct investments stock in Canada was valued at C$1.3 billion in 2021.

Canada features in Dubai’s top 20 source markets for inbound tourism with 158,000 Canadian visitors in 2022, more than double the number in 2021 (Source: Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism). More than 40,000 Canadians also live and work in Dubai.

To support the movement of commodities and goods around the world, Emirates provides cargo services to Canada with a capacity to carry 20 tonnes in the bellyhold of its Boeing 777 passenger aircraft and up to 15 tonnes aboard its A380 aircraft.