Multiple options for Diaspora to travel to Punjab for 550 years Gurpurab Celebrations
Singapore Airlines low cost carrier Scoot to increase its frequency to five-weekly flights
Amritsar : This upcoming winter season is bringing good news for Amritsaris and all NRIs arriving Punjab. Punjabis and its diaspora abroad are going to have many choices to travel from Australia, New Zealand and other south-east Asian countries than even before. In a detailed report, FlyAmritsar Initiative Global Convener, Sameep Singh Gumtala informed that airlines from Singapore and Malaysia flying to Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport, Amritsar are trying their best to provide better convenient connectivity for the upcoming winter season. This will also benefit those who wish to travel to Amritsar for 550 years of Guru Nanak Gurpurab celebrations in Dera Baba Nanak and travel onwards to Kartarpur in Pakistan after opening of the corridor.
According to the schedule available on its website, Scoot, the low cost and medium haul subsidiary of the Singapore Airlines Group will scale up its services to Amritsar from four to five-weekly flights from 28 October. Also, Air Asia X, one of the World’s largest low-cost carrier is adjusting its winter schedule timing for its Kuala-Lumpur to Amritsar flight from 28 October till 31 January 2020. Its competitor Malindo Air will also adjust its winter schedule from December 1, 2019. In the aviation world, October 27 is the start of winter season.
According to the schedule change by Air Asia on its website, arrival and departure of the flight has been changed from late evening to afternoon. Airline will continue to operate its flights 4 days a week on Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sun with departure from Kuala Lumpur at 7:20am and arrive Amritsar at 10:25am. In its return journey, the flight will leave from Amritsar at 11:40am arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 8pm. Scoot will depart from its hub in Singapore at 3:05pm local time and arrive Amritsar at 6:45pm in the evening. In its return journey, the flight will leave from Amritsar at 7:45pm arriving in Singapore at 4:05am.
Airlines eyeing diaspora in Australia, south-east Asia and West coast in USA
Gumtala said that one of the biggest reasons for these airlines to start Amritsar flights is to penetrate into the Australian and New Zealand market from Amritsar, Punjab. This schedule change during the peak season is going to benefit travelers for onward connectivity to/from airports in Australia, New Zealand and other countries that earlier had long layover time in transiting via Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
For those traveling to all of Air Asia X destinations to Australia, passengers have choice of 4-weekly services to Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Gold Coast. Flight duration from Melbourne will be 17hr 10min, Sydney 18hr 15min, Perth 20hr 50min. Return duration from Amritsar to Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Gold Coast will be 16hr 10min, 17hr 35min, 15hr 25min and 17hr 25min respectively. Air Asia also connects amritsar with more than 40 destinations including Hong Kong, Bangkok, Manilla and Bali.
Scoot also operates daily flights from Singapore to Melbourne and Sydney that has the largest Punjabi population. They also partner with many other airlines including its full-service carrier Singapore air to offer wide choice of destinations to travel to Amritsar from Bangkok, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra in Australia, Auckland in New Zealand, Hong Kong and west coast cities of Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco in USA. It also connects to more Australian destinations with its Australian partner Virgin Australia. Malindo air also connects passengers from Adelaide and Brisbane in Australia via its hub in Kuala Lumpur.
Air Asia X, Scoot and Malindo flies to more than 100 destinations and these flights give passengers flying through Malaysia and Singapore a quicker onward option to Australia and other South-East Asia destinations rather than first having to transit through New Delhi. This connectivity from Punjab also proves to be beneficial for the students pursuing studies in Australia as these flights are very cost effective. The journey between Amritsar and many other Australian cities can now be completed in less than 16 hours on Air Asia X along with Singapore airlines low-cost carrier Scoot and Malindo Air of Malaysia.
Potential for cargo exports and more airline connections
These convenient flights availability is a great outcome for the passengers flying between Amritsar and major Australian cities, said Gumtala. We are pleased to note that the diaspora in Australian region and travelers wishing to fly in directly to Amritsar’s SGRDJ Int’l Airport have supported these flights. This will also provide a good platform to the FlyAmritsar initiative for bringing in more airline connections
Gumtala added that we are pursuing with the Govt. of India and Punjab Govt. to facilitate start of dry and perishable cargo on these flights. Shorter time to reach various destinations helps in the delivery of perishable good faster. This will directly benefit and encourage farmers to explore international trade options by selling their farm produce.
Success of ASEAN airlines that are allowed in bilateral air service agreements to operate to Amritsar proves that the State of Punjab has great potential for direct international connectivity to other regions of the World.
- Sameep Singh Gumtala
- Global Convener, FlyAmritsar Initiative
- Secretary, Overseas Affairs Amritsar Vikas Manch
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