Amritsar International Airport Must Retain Direct Air India International Connectivity - 15/09/2010

Mr. Praful Patel
Hon. Cabinet Minister for Civil Aviation
Room No. 232,
Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan
New Delhi – 110001

15 September 2010

Dear Mr. Patel,

Amritsar International Airport Must Retain Direct Air India International Connectivity

The proposal to route UK and Canada flights from Amritsar via Delhi is a regressive move that must be rejected forthwith.

If numerous other international airlines can maintain direct connectivity with Amritsar, why not Air India? This proposal runs contrary to the interests of the people of Punjab, in particular the NRIs.

Consistent efforts of the then Punjab government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had resulted in the resumption of flights after twenty years when Air India reconnected Amritsar with the outside world in May 2005 with its flight to Toronto via Birmingham.

The sadly reality is that the current Akali-led Punjab government has been intent from the beginning on undermining Amritsar International airport. Our Deputy Chief Minister has a fleet of private jets and may not need commercial airlines but, all the same, he has made it abundantly clear that the priorities for his government are to promote Chandigarh Airport, for the substantial real estate opportunities surrounding that the ruling family and party cronies have amassed considerable interests in.

Moreover, if in the medium term Punjab can only have two viable international airports then Sukhbir Badal would prefer these to be Chandigarh and the new Bhatinda Airport that he is so keen to promote.

Instead of the current proposal Air India should be promoting Amritsar as a regional hub to take passenger traffic to London and beyond to the Eastern Seaboard of USA and Canada.

With the existing Boeing 777 fleet Air India could readily offer daily flights Amritsar to London or Birmingham, ultimately terminating in Toronto, New York and Chicago on different days of the week.

Add similar services from Delhi and you achieve good connectivity to these key North American cities via the UK, whilst providing passengers an opportunity to travel direct to Delhi or Amritsar on both days.

Please do not allow vested interests to undermine Amritsar International Airport.

Yours sincerely,
Jassi Khangura,
MLA, Halqa Qila Raipur, Ludhiana, Punjab.

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