Big boost for direct flights from Amritsar to Rome & Milan
By: Sameep Singh Gumtala
In 2020, after welcoming the repatriation flights operated by many world leading international airline carriers including British Airways during the suspension of international flights, Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport Amritsar has added another historical first to its credit at the start of new year 2021.
On January 8, three flights departed from the airport to Italy. According to the tweet posted by Amritsar airport official handle listing international departures to different destinations and flights data obtained from flightradar24, a global flight tracking service, Indigo operated two flights to Milan Bergamo Airport using its 222 seater Airbus A321-neo aircraft with a refueling stop in Istanbul, Turkey. Spicejet operated one charter flight to Rome with a refueling stop in Tbilisi, Georgia, using its leased 153 seats HiFly airlines Airbus A321 aircraft.”
All the 3 flights also returned back on a single day, 10 January to Amritsar. These charter flights have been operating from Amritsar to Milan, Rome and Verona in Italy since August 2020. Earlier in Dec 2020, the number of flights to Italy have been increasing with even two flights departing to or arriving on same day from Italy. The information gathered by FlyAmritsar team from flightradar24, a total of about 80 flights have operated so far between Amritsar-Italy. This includes maximum number of 13 departures and 15 arrivals operating in December 2020.
According to schedule released by some travel portals, more charter flights are scheduled to depart for Italy from Amritsar in the upcoming days continuing till the end of March 2021. While international flights have been suspended to India during the pandemic but flights between India and many other countries are operating under the air bubble agreements. Many charter flights are also being operated to/from Amritsar across many cities around the World.
The operation of these flights is a big boost for direct international connectivity especially to Italy from the airport. For the past few years, FlyAmritsar Initiative, Amritsar Vikas Manch (NGO) have been demanding direct flights from Amritsar to Rome & Milan with Air India and other airlines. This strengthens justification of the demand with airlines.
There is a big population of Punjabis in Italy with thousands of passengers traveling all year long from Italy to Punjab (Amritsar) via Delhi / Doha/ Tashkent / Ashgabat. Direct flights will save time and also give a major boost to the economy of Punjab. Even farmers will benefit from the direct flights in future as they will be able to ship cargo to European markets where they are in high demand.
After opening of the flights under air bubble agreements, flights to other international destinations are also currently operated by Indian and foreign airline carriers from Amritsar to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al-Khaimah in UAE, London & Birmingham (UK) and Doha, Qatar.
Sameep Singh Gumtala is Global Convener of the FlyAmritsar Initiative, a public campaign for better flight connectivity with the holy city of Amritsar. He is a US resident, regularly writes about Punjab, its diaspora, and air connectivity of Amritsar, Punjab with the World.
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