Tribune News Service
Amritsar, July 14
Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International (SGRDJI) Airport needs bilateral agreement with countries for better international air connectivity, said FlyAmritsar Initiative, a civil society public initiative for a focused approach toward bringing in more international and domestic flights to the holy city.
It submitted a list of demands along with the data to Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri.
Despite being one of the most visited cities in India, important tourist hub and the gateway to India from the West, Amritsar is not part of bilateral air agreements with UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkey, Germany and many other countries.
These agreements allow the airlines of these countries to start flights with agreed upon airports in India. Many leading foreign carriers, including, Emirates, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Turkish Airline, Gulf Air, are willing to start operations to Amritsar, provided they are bilateral.
FlyAmritsar Initiative convener Sameep Singh Gumtala, NRI from the USA, said: “We received written confirmation from many airlines, including, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia that they are willing to begin operations to Amritsar provided SGRDJI Airport is made part of bilateral. Many Gulf carriers have also shared with us that non-inclusion of Amritsar in air agreements was the main hindrance for them and they were willing to operate to Amritsar immediately after getting the flight rights.”
Carriers from ASEAN countries including Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are allowed to operate to Amritsar under the bilateral. Success of airlines like Scoot, Malindo, AirAsia X from Amritsar proves that the city and the state have great potential for direct international connectivity to other regions of the world.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation should allow airlines from other countries in bilateral to operate flights”, added Yogesh Kamra, convener (India) for FlyAmritsar Initiative. Manmohan Singh Brar, a member of Airport Advisory Committee, requested the Central government to start direct flights to London, Toronto, Vancouver from Amritsar to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
Amritsar will be the transit hub for millions of devotees that will visit Harmandir Sahib, Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib.