Thursday, October 29, 2020

Punjab

Amritsar Airport 3rd busiest in the country during lockdown

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | June 24, 2020 10:09 AM

AMRITSAR: Suspension of international commercial flights by India during lockdown has disclosed the real potential of Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport Amritsar. In a press release, Sameep Singh Gumtala, Global Convener of the FlyAmritsar Initiative said that even during suspension offlights in the month of April, Amritsar became the third busiest airport in the country. Many countries operated special repatriation charter flights from the Airport to fly its residents back to their home country of residence.

Gumtala shared that as per recent traffic report released by Airport Authority of India (AAI) for the month of April 2020, Amritsar recorded a total of 5972 international and domestic passengers leaving behind all major airports in India except Delhi and Mumbai. Delhi was on the top with 20, 624 and Mumbai on second with 9051 passengers. A total of 5011 international passengers, also the third highest number among all international airports in the country. Delhi airport recorded 19514 followed by Mumbai with 7956 international passengers. All other major airports in India like Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata were also not near to the numbers handled by Amritsar.

A complete suspension of flights in late march left thousands of foreign nationals and residents stranded across the country including Punjab. The biggest number UK and Canada residents stranded in India was recorded in Punjab. To repatriate its citizens, their Consulates in India arranged special chartered flights operated by leading airline carriers including British Airways by the UK.
Amritsar handled the biggest number of flights from India to London Heathrow airport by UK and also by the Canadian foreign office to Toronto, Vancouver and Montrealto fly back Britons and Canadians. These overseas flights started in April and continued to operate till mid May 2020. According to unofficial estimates, the number of flights from Amritsarby UK and Canada is one of the biggest during the current crisis by these two countries from all over the World.

Gumtala said, “the demand for direct repatriation flights from Amritsar to UK and Canada was raised by stranded passengers with their government. Thisproves the fact that majority of the international traffic at Delhi airport from UK and Canada comes from Punjab. Punjabis and its diaspora wish to travel directly from Punjab instead of Delhi, if more international flights are started from Amritsar. Airport is within 3 hours reach from all major cities of Punjab and this distance will be reduced to half after the completion of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway”    

Pleased with Amritsar airport handling such a large number of flights, especially by British Airways, Yogesh Kamra, FlyAmritsar Convener (India) and Secretary Amritsar Vikas Manch, said that airport has not only proven that it has great potential for direct flights to London Heathrow, Toronto and Vancouver, it also has all the infrastructure to handle traffic even during extreme crisis situation.
“This unprecedented repatriation effort would not have been possible without the facilities made available at Airport including the newly built first floor. Also, credit goes to the Airport director Manoj Chansoria, staff members of the airport, airlines and the high commission from these countries. We are hopeful that once the crisis ends, airlines from India, UK, Canada and other countries will consider starting flights from London Heathrow, Toronto or Vancouver, seeing the traffic numbers from Punjab even during the pandemic” said Kamra.  
The overall passenger numbers for May 2020 is yet to be released by AAI.

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