New Delhi, 19 December
Reiterating that Punjab will be a ‘key part’ of Air India’s expansion plan, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told the Rajya Sabha today that Amritsar and Chandigarh have international air traffic of 42 per week. This includes 33 for Amritsar and nine for Chandigarh.
Dismissing insinuations made by some members that there is little international air connectivity with Amritsar and Chandigarh, Scindia said: “In air services traffic agreements, we give connectivity to only six trains (as part of the Open Skies policy). »
Chandigarh has international air connectivity with only two destinations – Dubai and Sharjah – in the UAE. It has nine traffic a week, despite frequent requests for additional flights as a large number of passengers come from Utah, Punjab and Haryana. Himachal offers international flights from Delhi. Among the seven countries that have air connectivity with Amritsar are Malaysia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Georgia, Qatar and Italy.
Meanwhile, Principal Secretary (Civil Aviation), Punjab Rahul Bhandari said the state has steadily increased demand for more international flights from Chandigarh and Amritsar with the hub.
These two cities are not included in the Open Skies policy, which makes it difficult for international airlines to start flights from here. We want to launch direct flights to Canada and other European destinations.
Although Indian Airlines can start flights from these two cities, the Ministry of Civil Aviation told us that airlines do not see commercial viability in operating from here. But this issue has been discussed many times and we are sure that the flights will start soon.
Travel agencies Tricity conclude that more than 65% of Delhi airport passengers are from the region. Sumit Gandhi of Sai Tours and Travel in Mohali said, “If a destination in Europe, for example Germany, is connected from here, it will open up the market to the US, Canada and other countries. Punjab travel agencies have been asking for it for a long time.”
Vaneet Sharma of Sheetal Travels said: “Chandigarh is within reach of a large number of North Indians. Surprisingly, international flights serve only two destinations. Many commuters from the region will find it convenient to fly from here instead of Delhi.”