Amritsar, 9 Nov 2017 (Bharat Sandesh Bureau) ::- Fly Dubai is one of the several international airlines willing to launch flights to Amritsar if the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India allows Amritsar to be added as a point of call for the carriers from Dubai. This was stated by Fly Dubai Regional Manager (India, Nepal) Pran Dasan, in response to the letter written by Amritsar Vikas Manch Overseas Secretary Sameep Singh. In a press release, Manch Patron Dr. Charanjit Singh Gumtala said that according to the airline, Amritsar is a very important and key market that they would like to serve. However, Amritsar is not a designated point of call in the bilateral air services agreement between Dubai and India that does not allow carriers from Dubai to fly to Amritsar. Furthermore, capacit between India and Dubai stands completely exhausted and the bilateral discussion needs to be called once again.
The Bilateral air service agreements between two countries determine the number of passengers (also known as seats) airlines from both the sides can fly to the other country and the number of cities they are allowed to fly to. At present, carriers from UAE – Emirates, FlyDubai, Etihad can’t operate flights to Amritsar whereas Indian carriers can fly to these cities. Also, airlines from both sides have exhausted their existing quota of seats granted to operate within the country under the present bilateral treaty between India and the UAE.
The Amritsar Vikas Manch is also in communication with other airlines such as Oman Air, Air Asia, Thai Airways, Thai Smile, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Air Canada. However, any international expansion by Gulf carriers is subjected to regulatory approvals by India. Oman Air expressed inability to start these flights as Amritsar is also not a point of call. Turkish Airways has been requesting for operating flights to Amritsar but government is refusing to give them permission. Qatar Airways is also willing to start another flight from Amritsar but not able to do so due to bilateral agreements.
Air Asia in its response said that they will survey and evaluate current market for operating flights from Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur to Amritsar. Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Air Canada has also responded to the request. These airlines quoted that they are aware of the high traffic potential for Amritsar and the Punjab region but currently they do not any plans for expansion to India. They will continue to evaluate this market for future opportunities.
The Manch has appealed to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to allow carriers from UAE, Oman, Turkey and other countries to fly to Amritsar. Start of flights will not only take flyers to Dubai, Muscat or Istanbul but it will also connect them further to Europe, USA and Canada that has a large Punjabi population. Such connectivity is missing in the current flights operating on the Amritsar-Dubai route by Air India Express and SpiceJet, since the India airline operating it does not have a code-share agreement with other airlines in Dubai. Passengers are not able to get extended connected from Dubai, even as it is the main hub between Asia and the West.