By: Sameep Singh Gumtala
Seeing the response to its direct flights between Amritsar-Rome, Air India has added an additional flight on its Delhi-Amritsar-Rome flights. The flight will operate on February 27 from Amritsar to Rome with return next day on February 28 from Rome, reaching Amritsar in the morning on March 1 at 6am. The flight is already available for booking on Air India’s website.
According to schedule released earlier by Air India in January, the flights from Amritsar to Rome are operating on 1, 11, 21 February and 4, 14 and 24 March and return next day from Rome to Amritsar. This flight on 27th Feb is in addition to the already scheduled flights. The airline did not announce yet to continue these flights in summer schedule that starts in end of March and runs till end of October 2021.
The first flight from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport departed with 242 passengers. This AI1122 flight departs from Delhi making a stop at Amritsar and then flying directly to the Vatican City. According to a tweet by Indian Embassy in Italy, the return flight on Feb 2 from Rome departed for Amritsar with 243 passengers.
The flight from Amritsar departs at 3:55pm arriving in Rome at 7:20pm local time. From Rome, the flights depart next day at 6pm reaching Amritsar next day early morning at 5:35am and then after a short halt departs for Delhi. The total flights time from Amritsar to Rome is 7 hrs.55 min and return from Rome to Amritsar is 7 hrs. 5 min.
In addition to Air India flights, according to schedule released by some travel portals, more charter flights operated by Indigo and Spicejet are scheduled to depart for Rome/Milan Bergamo Airport from Amritsar in the upcoming days continuing till the end of March 2021.
The number of flights are currently limited due to the pandemic and operating to countries under the air bubble agreements put in place by Government of India with the government of other countries. The overwhelming response to the direct and charter flights to Italy from the holy city Airport also strengthens and justifies the demand by FlyAmritsar Initiative and many others for direct schedule flights between Amritsar and Rome / Milan in future.
Before pandemic, despite there being no direct flights between Amritsar and Rome/Milan in Italy, thousands of passengers travel all year long between Italy and Punjab (Amritsar) via Delhi / Doha/ Tashkent / Ashgabat. This also seems to strengthen the case for Air India or other Indian carriers especially Indigo to start operations from Rome or Milan. Indigo is currently using its Airbus A321Neo for the charters flights by taking a technical refueling halt at Turkey’s Istanbul airport. The airline can also start direct Amritsar to Istanbul flights and codeshare with Turkish airlines for further convenient connectivity to Italy.
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.