Amritsar, 14 December 2015 (Bharat Sandesh News):– The Amritsar Vikas Manch has requested the government & Air India to restart direct flights from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport Amritsar same like London-Ahmedabad route
In a press statement, Dr. Charanjit Singh Gumtala, patron Amritsar Vikas Manch stated that he wrote letters to prime minister Sh. Narinder Modi, Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and finance minister Mr. Arun Jaitley, to restore Amritsar-Birmingham flight and Amritsar-London flight, in reply to these letters, Ministry of Civil Aviation stated that Delhi is a hub so these flights will remain via Delh. Now with the start of London-Ahmedabad direct flight from December 15 it is clear that there is no hard and fast rule. So direct flights can be resumed from Amritsar.
At present these flights are incurring great loss after diverting to Delhi. At present these flight do not carry air cargo. If there are direct flights vegetables, flowers, fruits will be exported from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh. Amritsar airport will also earn huge money by these 2 flights which is in loss of Rs 61.13 crore. Punjabis living abroad will also feel comfortable.
Past history shows that these flights were in profit. Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto flight, withdrawn on October 31, 2010 was the most successful flight in the national carrier’s history because its occupancy was over 90 per cent. All international flights of Air India are in loss now where as private airlines are in profit. Air India was in profit up to 2007. Then minister for civil aviation Mr Proful Patel gave profitable roots of Air India to King Fisher. So UPA government promoted private airlines at the cost of Air India and also private airports like Delhi at the cost of other airports. When these flights were diverted to Delhi, every one condemned the UPA government. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal slammed the Union Government. On April 4, 2013 he stated, “the Union Government was trying to make the IGI airport a profitable venture at the cost of Amritsar airport.
The only international airport in Punjab had tremendous potential for generating revenue as the holy city was the gateway to the country on the world tourist map. Withdrawing international flights to Toronto (Canada) and domestic flights to Chandigarh from Amritsar indicated discrimination with the state. Hundreds of people fly to Canada daily from Punjab. Now, they will have to spend more for boarding flights from New Delhi."Modi government is following the same policy and has done nothing to make Air India and Indian airports run by AAI (Airport Authority of India) to make profitable.
More than one year has passed BJP government has not done anything for the restoration of these flights except a statement from Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal on July 20,2015 in which he demanded the resumption of international flights from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport, Amritsar, to facilitate Punjabi diaspora. Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu is also silent on this issue now and was very critical when these flights were withdrawn. On February 2013 he called for an agitation to save Amritsar. While talking to media persons before inauguration of Help Desk at the airport on February 2013 Sidhu apprehended of Center governments deliberate mechanism of withdrawing international flights from Amritsar only to give benefit to GMR Group which has interests in airports and that the loss is more than Rs 56 crore and if it continued the airport would be redundant.. It means it was a gimmick during UPA government to show the sympathy with Amritsar Airport.
Manch leader appealed to the BJP and Akali leaders to come forward to make Amritsar as a hub like Delhi and start direct Air India flights to Birmingham, London, Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco, Milan etc.