Chandigarh: Air India, the flag carrier airline of India, on Monday launched non-stop direct flight between Amritsar and Gatwick, United Kingdom. Union minister civil aviation (MoCA) Jyotiraditya Scindia flagged off the inaugural flight at a ceremonial function in New Delhi.
On the occasion, Scindia said that this new international connectivity will work as a catalyst for the development of the region. “It is an emotional subject also as lakhs of people of Punjab live in the UK and this new service will connect families living in two different countries,” said the minister.
The minister said that the infrastructure at Amritsar airport would be enhance in keeping with requirement of passengers and status of the airport. “The government has developed 13 parking aprons with an expenditure of ₹50 crores and a parallel taxi-track has been built at the cost of ₹100 crore for easy movement of aircraft. A new integrated terminal has also been developed with an expenditure of ₹250 crores,” Scindia added.
On connectivity minister said that this is the 3rd connectivity between Amritsar and England and there are six international flights which are operational from Amritsar. “By 2014 Amritsar was connected to only six cities, in nine years, it has increased to 21 cities, a jump of 250%. Earlier the weekly traffic movement was 217 per week, which has now increased to 416 per week, an increase of 87%,” added the minister.
A senior officer of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that under the RCS UDAN scheme, with a budget of ₹145.35 crore, 20 routes have been operational in Punjab and four more routes are planned to commence in the near future. The government has signed an open sky offer with Canada, wherein airline operators can operate unlimited flights between Indian cities and their Canadian counterparts. The government is hoping that the state of Punjab and its people will benefit from this agreement.
Minister of state for commerce and industries Som Parkash, joint secretary, MoCA SK Mishra, secretary, civil aviation department, Punjab, Marwinder Singh Jaggi, and chief executive officer of Air India Campbell Wilson were present at the event.