Amritsar Airport may lose international passengers

 
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Amritsar, August 6 (ANI): A dream that intended Amritsar's Raja Sansi International Airport to develop into one of the busiest Airports, today seems to have faded.

After withdrawal of Singapore Airlines and Jet Airways International services, there are reports that Air India has also discontinued its certain services from Amritsar airport, located about 11 kilometres from the city centre.

Last February, after three years of successful operations, Singapore Airlines already withdrew their services from Amritsar while stating that it was not feasible for them to continue anymore.

In Novemeber, 2008, the Jet Airways cancelled flights connecting Delhi- Amritsar to London for economic reasons.

While there are unconfirmed reports that Air India has announced to withdraw its Amritsar - London - Toronto flight services even before the completion of its first anniversary, the officials, however, have said that the flights are "only re-routed."

"The service is not withdrawn as is being projected. We have only re-planned the route in view of the commercial aspects", said an Air India official.

The Air India official informed that according to the new route, the flight would be Amritsar-Delhi-Toronto and Amritsar-Delhi-London. "So the flight has not been taken away rather another one had been added. As per information, AI-187 would take off from Amritsar on October 31 to Toronto via Delhi whereas AI-115 would take passengers from Amritsar to London via Delhi."

Many people are raising scepticism over the utility of the parliamentary committee headed by Manohar Singh Gill, which had been given different recommendations to make Amritsar as an aviation hub for various destinations, as none of its recommendations had been properly implemented.

The Civil Aviation ministry had set up Gill Committee to save the Raja Sansi Airport from closure by urging Center to initiate several measures.haratiya Janata Party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, an MP from Amritsar, on Thursday claimed that he called on Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel in New Delhi on Wednesday and the latter assured that the flight would not be taken away.

"Minister has promised me that he will not take away the flight," said Siddhu. He added that rather Amritsar should be included in the list of nbound Tourist Chartered List.

Earlier Sidhu had promised on number of times to the residents here that he will ensure bringing the Amritsar airport at the international aviation radar.

However, the sources, have revealed that even the Amritsar-Sharjah and Amritsar-Abhudhabi flights of Air India are likely to be removed. They are being shifted to the upcoming Mohali Airport.

Anil Suri, Managing Director Sawera Travels feels that if there will be a drop in international air transport, there would be a negative impact of that further cascading effect on the Amritsar market.

He said that even the re-route of the Air India would discourage international passengers to take flight from Amritsar. They will rather prefer to take direct flight from Delhi.

Suneet Kochar, Deputy Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Amritsar, said: "Amritsar holds a huge potential in terms of tourism industry and to facilitate International passengers the efforts should be made to bring more international fights at Raja Sansi Airport.

He hoped that Dr. Manmohan Singh, who once said that he has a special place for Amritsar in his heart, would look into the matter and provide the best to Amritsar. By Ravinder Singh Robin(ANI)

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