The Mayor of Montreal has given his backing to a bid by Qatar Airways for further landing slots in Canada to help boost ties between the two countries.
Gérald Tremblay said he was lobbying the Canadian federal government on behalf of Akbar Al Baker, the Qatar Airways chief executive, for the airline to be allowed to operate more than its existing three flights a week to Montreal.
But he said a similar landing rights row between the UAE and Canada was an "irritant" and he also supported bids by Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways for further flights.
"The landing rights issue is an irritant for the UAE and Canada so something will happen," he said during a visit to the UAE.
"The Quebec government can only make representation as it's a decision of the federal government."
Limited access to Canadian airports has been a source of frustration for Gulf carriers in recent years.
But none of the airlines have been allowed to raise their existing number of services.
Mr Tremblay's comments suggest tensions between the UAE and Canada still simmer over the issue despite an improvement in relations in recent months.
Relations reached a low point last year when the UAE imposed a new fee for Canadians visiting the country, ending Canada's status as one of more than 30 countries whose citizens could visit free of charge on a free one-month visa.
"We are looking for a long-term relationship and are not going to stop because there's a landing right problem or visa problem.
"But if we want to improve the relationship we have to be present so it's easier if we have more direct flights," he said.
Mr Tremblay is leading a delegation of businessmen from the province of Quebec to the UAE and Qatar this week.
The visit follows several diplomatic visits by officials from both the UAE and Canada this year as relations have begun to thaw.
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