Canadian Forces stop using Dubai for transit flights.

The Canadian military has stopped flying troops to and through…

The Canadian military has stopped flying troops to and through its base in Dubai.

The end of a practice that involved the movement of tens of thousands of Canadian troops and millions of tonnes of gear to and from Afghanistan over the past few years is directly related to a diplomatic fracas between the United Arab Emirates and Ottawa that led the U.A.E. to demand earlier this month that Canada quit the base by the first week of November.

That decision by the U.A.E. was made after Canada refused a demand by the wealthy Gulf sheikdom to allow more flights to and from Canada by its two national carriers, Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways.

“There are no longer any soldiers going through the base in Dubai,” said a senior officer at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa who asked not to be identified because the issue has become so diplomatically sensitive for both Canada and the U.A.E. “There are still a few military flights that will go to Dubai until next week, but the base is no longer used for anything except to extract the very last of the equipment we have at the base.”

Soldiers due to have leave or return home in the next few days were to fly from Kandahar to Dubai commercially. From there they will catch onward commercial flights.

Ottawa was very close to signing deals to use Cyprus as a main transit point for soldiers going on leave or returning home and with a NATO base in Germany — most likely the U.S. air force base at Spangdahlem, near the Luxembourg border — to bring sensitive military gear to and from Canada, the officer said.

Source: Matthew Fisher for the Vancouver Sun.

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