Slough MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi is urging British airlines to launch direct flights between Amritsar and the UK.
Dhesi met with airlines’ senior officials and bolstered their confidence with Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal’s assurance to possibly forego state aviation tax if they resumed flights from Amritsar.
Dhesi met with Virgin Atlantic and Air India senior officials and backed his case with significant figures regarding the commercial potential of flights between Amritsar and the UK.
“As I met Virgin Atlantic’s Senior Manager External Affairs and soon-to-be Head of India Operations David Hodges, I presented various facts and figures about the potential of a very lucrative route to the global tourist capital Amritsar, visited by millions each year. I also highlighted the incentives being offered by the Punjab government and the overwhelming wishes of the Punjabi diaspora within my Slough constituency, Britain and beyond,” Dhesi relayed.
He also had a lengthy meeting with the Head of Europe Operations of Air India, Tara Naidu.
“I proposed that even if additional slots can’t be procured, Air India is currently operating three daily flights from Heathrow Airport to India of which two are to Delhi and one to another destination and one of those could be used for Amritsar,” Dhesi shared.
The Slough MP also met Indian High Commissioner in UK, Y K Sinha and asked for his support for the reintroduction of direct flights between Amirtsar and London and Birmingham. Dhesi argued that “given the Indian government’s influence within the national carrier, Air India, I feel your support with decision makers would lead to direct flights being reinstated.”
Apart from mentioning the passenger potential and environmental impact of the direct flights, which would reduce carbon emissions, Dhesi stressed that it would eliminate the burden on the community, which had to suffer the inconvenience of long journeys, rather than a direct eight-hour travel.
“Those with disabilities and those traveling with children feel particularly aggrieved with the current situation,” he argued.
During his first trip to India in July, after becoming first turbaned Sikh MP in the UK, Dhesi had met Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, Punjab Finance Minister, Manpreet Badal and asked them to use their influence for the resumption of direct flights between Amritsar and UK.