UK’S acting High Commissioner to India Jan Thompson’s tweet announcing two additional flights from Amritsar to rescue stranded British nationals amid the COVID-19 outbreak has strengthened the demand for starting more direct international flights from the holy city.
“Responding to demand, pleased to announce 2 additional flights from Amritsar on 16 & 18 April. Flights from Amritsar have been over-subscribed: those already on wait list will be prioritised. That makes 5 Amritsar-London flights this week: 13, 16, 17, 18, 19 April,” tweeted Jan on April 13.
The British High Commission has been arranging flights for British nationals stranded in different parts of India. For Amritsar, it has had to announce additional flights.
There has been a long-time demand of more direct international flights from Amritsar.
Michael Raul of NGO Amritsar Vikas Manch, said, “British Airways had earlier deployed three flights from Amritsar to London to take back its nationals from Punjab. But these three flights have been over-subscribed on the first day. Then the British High Commissioner had to announce two more flights from Amritsar to London. At present, it seems that these two flights have almost been booked, and the British Airways, the British High Commission, are also very surprised.”
He further said, “Looking at additional demand, British Airways may start more Amritsar-London flights. It should be an eye opener for the British Airways that Amritsar is just a not a small town…Amritsar is the high potential destination. It is hoped that as things improve, British Airways will also consider launching London-Amritsar-London flights, which will provide greater convenience to Punjabis living in Britain, Europe, Canada and the United States.”
“There are international flights for only 10 destinations from Amritsar. Except for two flights for the UK, all international flights are for the Middle Eastern countries. Due to absence of direct flights from Amritsar to Canada, US and Europe, the Punjabi diaspora is forced to land at Delhi and then go by road to reach Punjab via Haryana. Indirect flights are costly and more time-consuming,” said Raul.
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