Advocacy group citing determined want pushes for direct flights between Canada and Punjab, India

Advocacy group citing determined want pushes for direct flights between Canada and Punjab, India

A bunch advocating for direct flights between Canada and the northwestern Indian metropolis of Amritsar says a current air transport settlement between the 2 nations ought to have included a direct flight to the state of Punjab — which has been desperately wanted for years.

Amritsar is the centre of Sikhism and the positioning of the Sikhs’ principal place of worship — the Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple.

An Open Skies settlement between India and Canada was signed final month, permitting limitless flights to India. Beneath the brand new settlement, Canadian airways can fly to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata — with out restriction. Beforehand, solely 35 flights had been allowed per week.

Indian airways are free to fly to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and two different cities of their selection.

Travellers need to take a 14-hour flight to Delhi and wait seven hours for a connecting flight or take an eight- to 10-hour street journey to get to Amritsar, in line with native advocate Mohit Dhanju. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Mohit Dhanju, a spokesperson for the FlyAmristar Initiative, says many of the six cities within the new settlement are situated in central and southern India, which implies travellers might want to wait about seven hours in Delhi to take a connecting flight to Amritsar or drive roughly eight to 10 hours to northern India.

“It is the twenty first century. Individuals should not be spending a lot time travelling. You’re taking a 14-hour flight to Delhi, after which it’s important to make a 10-hour street journey. It would not make any sense.”

Dhanju, a spokesperson for the FlyAmritsar Initiative, says Amritsar is the most important metropolis within the state of Punjab and an necessary cultural and non secular website. (Sohrab Sandu/CBC Information)

To make issues worse for travellers in B.C., Air Canada has quickly suspended its flights between Vancouver and Delhi attributable to numerous components, together with the Ukraine-Russia battle.

Dhanju says the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee Worldwide Airport in Amritsar has a contemporary Class 3 precision instrument method and touchdown system with direct flights to 9 different worldwide locations, together with Singapore and London, and it would not make sense to not have a direct flight to Canada contemplating the big variety of Indian immigrants residing in B.C. and different provinces.

Based on Statistics Canada’s 2021 inhabitants census, Mandarin and Punjabi had been the nation’s most generally spoken languages. In 2021, greater than half 1,000,000 Canadians spoke predominantly Punjabi at house.

“There’s a a million Punjabi diaspora residing throughout Canada … [and Amritsar] holds vital significance. Any Punjab particular person will hold one or two days separate to go to Amritsar and worship there,” mentioned Dhanju, including that the town holds the “similar significance” because the Vatican for the Indian group.

‘Large development’ to journey to India

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra mentioned since 2019, Canada has seen a “trajectory of development” for travellers flying to India and the just lately expanded contract between the 2 nations was supposed to mirror this demand.

Omar Alghabra says he understands the necessity and demand for a direct flight to Amritsar and met with the Indian minister of civil aviation final spring, however the Indian authorities ‘was not but prepared.’ (Sohrab Sandu/CBC)

“Earlier this fall, the typical flights [to India] per week was 31 and 32, so we had been really reaching the restrict … and we might mission that there’s a rise in demand within the coming years,” Alghabra informed CBC Information.

4 Conservative MPs signed a letter asking the CEO of Air Canada, Michael Rousseau, to ascertain a direct flight between Canada and the state of Punjab.

Alghabra mentioned the request for a direct flight to Amritsar was requested for throughout negotiations earlier this 12 months, and he hopes to proceed the dialogue with the Indian authorities.


“I met with the Indian minister of civil aviation simply final spring, [and] my focus of the dialogue was to have direct flights to Amritsar. That is one thing we want. That is one thing that we see needed,” he mentioned, including that almost all of Canadians in India who had been repatriated throughout the pandemic had been from the Punjab area.

“Sadly, the Indian authorities was not prepared but, regardless that we requested.”

CBC Information has reached out to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India and Air Canada however didn’t get a response earlier than deadline.

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