FlyAmritsar Initiative Appeals to Minister Puri for direct Int’l Flights
Amritsar : FlyAmritsar Initiative (FAI), a civil society public Initiative for a focused approach toward bringing in more International and domestic flights to the holy city has submitted a list of demands along with the data to Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, Secretary Civil Aviation and other leaders of Punjab regarding concerns about connectivity to the airport.
Despite being one of the most visited cities in India, important tourist hub and the gateway to India from the West, Amritsar is not part of bilateral air agreements with UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkey, Germany and many other countries. These agreements allow the airlines of these countries to start flights with agreed upon airports in India. Many leading foreign carriers including Emirates, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Turkish Airline, Gulf Air, if allowed in bilateral are willing to start operations to Amritsar.
FlyAmritsar Initiative Convener (Global) Sameep Singh Gumtala, NRI from the USA and Overseas Secretary of NGO Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) said, “we received written confirmation from many airlines including Fly Dubai, Air Arabia that they are willing to begin operations to Amritsar provided SGRDJ Int’l Airport is made part of bilateral. Many of the other Gulf carriers have also shared with us that non-inclusion of Amritsar in air agreements was the main hindrance for them and they were willing to operate to Amritsar immediately after getting the flight rights.”
Carries from ASEAN countries including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia are allowed to operate to Amritsar under the bilateral. Success of airlines like Scoot, Malindo, Air Asia X from Amritsar provers that the city and State of Punjab has great potential for direct international connectivity to other regions of the World due to growing number of Diaspora from Punjab and its tourism. If carriers from the Gulf region, Europe and other countries are allowed in bilateral, not just passenger traffic in the form of friends, relatives, students, tourism will increase but cargo business from Punjab will flourish with the start of flights by these airlines, said Gumtala
“Flights by Air India Express, Spicejet, Indigo operating to Dubai with high passenger load factor do not help us in connectivity to the West as they do not have codeshare with airlines from UAE to transit via Dubai on Emirates, Fly Dubai. Start of national carrier Air India flights instead of Air India Express to Dubai can be a big boost in providing convenient onward connectivity to the West on its Star Alliance partner Emirates. If Indian carriers are not willing or do not see viability to operate to International destinations from Amritsar, Ministry of Civil Aviation should allow airlines from other countries in bilateral to operate flights”, added Yogesh Kamra, Convener (India) for FlyAmritsar Initiative & Secretary AVM
Manmohan Singh Brar, a member of Airport Advisory Committee and President of NGO AVM has also appealed to the Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to grant special permission to the airlines from other countries willing to start operations considering the occasion for 550 years of Guru Nanak Gurpurab celebrations. “We also demand starting of direct flights to London, Toronto, Vancouver that has the biggest diaspora with origin from Punjab for 550 years. Amritsar will be the transit hub for millions of devotees that will visit Harmandir Sahib, Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib. Air India does not need any new routes or planes as it can easily re-route its direct Delhi-London, Delhi-Toronto flight as Delhi-Amritsar-London and Delhi-Amritsar-Toronto for the occasion.
Sameep Singh Gumtala,
Convener (Global), FlyAmritsar Initiative,
Convener (India), FlyAmritsar Initiative