Tribune News Service
Amritsar, July 30
The long-pending demand of many NRIs and Punjabis for a direct flight from Amritsar to London is likely to be accepted soon.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India are considering to resume the direct flight from Amritsar to London, said Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) member Yogesh Kamra, who was part a delegation that met the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha.
The national carrier is already flying Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham flight to the UK. He said the minister citing unavailability of slots for Air India at London Heathrow airport, the flight will operate to London Luton International Airport.
According to AVM, the start of flights to London Luton airport will connect Punjabis and NRIs settled in London and surrounding areas with Punjab. However, this will not enable one-stop connectivity of Amritsar with the west bound destinations in Europe, Canada and USA as Luton airport do not have connectivity to these countries. This will also revive export of perishables such as baby corn, snow peas, okra, other vegetables and fruits from Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh to UK and Europe. In the absence of direct flight to London, exporters are compelled to export their produce from New Delhi.
They also met Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla at New Delhi. They along with MoS Vijay Sampla also met KJ Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism and demanded connectivity of Amritsar with all major tourist destinations in India.
It is hereby mentioned that British MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi along with two NGOs AVM and UK-based SEVA Trust had launched a campaign at an event in UK Parliament in April, requesting Indian government for the start of direct flights between Heathrow and Amritsar, a long pending demand of the British-Punjabi community.
AVM General Secretary Manjit Singh Saini said the delegation also requested Union Minister Sinha to add Amritsar in the bilateral air services agreements for Oman, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Turkey, Hong Kong etc. So that airlines from these countries can start flights to Amritsar Airport.
Saini, who was also part of the delegation, said the minister informed that currently they were not allowing airlines from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Turkey etc to fly to any more airports in India as it helps them carry passengers from their country hub to Europe, Canada and USA.
He said the delegation also discussed matters related to existing infrastructure at the airport, including upgradation of facilities, operation of all four aerobridges, expansion of terminal building, early completion of first floor work, apron for aircraft parking space at SriGuru Ram Das Jee International airport.
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