Indigo to connect holy city to a second destination in the UAE
Amritsar : Sri Guru Ram Das Jee (SGRDJ) International Airport Amritsar will get its second International flight to a destination in the UAE from October 1 this year. Indigo announced a daily flight on the Amritsar-Sharjah route and its booking is available on its website.
Welcoming the decision by airline, Sameep Singh Gumtala Global Convener of FlyAmritsar Initiative informed that India’s low-cost carrier Indigo will be first airline after a gap of almost 5 years to provide direct connectivity between the holy city and Sharjah in UAE. Air India had earlier operated the flight on this route. According to the schedule on its website, the flight will leave from Amritsar at 11:35 am and reach Sharjah at 1:35 pm (local time). The return flight will depart from Sharjah airport at 2:35pm (local time) and arrive in Amritsar at 7:40pm.
In October 2018, Indigo launched a daily flight between Amritsar and Dubai. Earlier in the month, this flight was suspended and the airline has now shifted this to Sharjah making it as the 8th International destination from Amritsar. Holy city is also connected via direct flights to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Doha, Birmingham and Tashkent. Flights to Ashgabat by Turkmenistan airlines are still suspended due to the ban on airline to fly to Europe.
Gumtala said that Sharjah flight will benefit Punjabis working in Sharjah and neighboring Emirates (States) of Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al-Khaimah and Fujairah. It was a long pending demand by them. This direct flight will save them time and cost as currently in addition to expenses for travel by road from Dubai, they spend 30 dirham every time they crossed from Dubai into Sharjah, said Gumtala.
SpiceJet and Air India Express are successfully running their flights to Dubai from Amritsar for the past few years. In 2018, Amritsar-Dubai route had the highest number of passengers among all direct flights from Amritsar to international destinations. A total of 2.68 lakh passengers out of 7.99 lakh traveled on direct flights between on this route.
All the three Indian carriers operating daily flights to Dubai and Sharjah currently has no code share partnerships with any foreign airline operating from these airports and hence, do not connect its passengers to other international destinations. In March, Spicejet signed code-share agreement with Emirates to connect its passengers from Amritsar on Emirates destinations via Dubai. Since then, there is no update by both the carriers on when it is going to come into effect.
Meanwhile, large number of Punjabis who have gone to work and also living permanently in Abu Dhabi for the past many years has also demanded a direct flight to Amritsar. A member of FlyAmritsar Initiative in Abu Dhabi, Karajbir Singh, along with thousands of others has also requested Ministry of Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to intervene and help start of flight by Air India Express. We have also reached out to the airline and other Indian carriers with detailed data and statistics to start the flight, said Gumtala.
Both Emirates and its partner Fly Dubai, also wants to start flights to Amritsar, that will enable connections to more than 140 of its destinations worldwide. But the bilateral air service agreements between the two countries do not allow UAE carriers to fly to Amritsar. Indian civil aviation ministry has made it clear that they are not going to give permission to UAE carriers to any new destinations in India.
- Sameep Singh Gumtala,
- Global Convener, FlyAmritsar Initiative,
- Secretary, Overseas Affairs, Amritsar Vikas Manch,
- Dayton, Ohio USA