By: Sameep Singh Gumtala
A special charter flight operated by Indian low-cost carrier Spicejet for Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada is scheduled to depart from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport Amritsar on September 12, 2020.
The flights will depart from Amritsar at 12:30pm. The first flight flew more than 350 passengers to Toronto with a short refueling halt at Prague in Czech Republic. According to unconfirmed reports, this flight is sold out as well.
On September 9, Spicejet became the first Indian budget carrier to operate long-haul wide body charter flight from Amritsar to North America.
The airline that does not have any widebody dual aisle aircraft in its fleet, has wet leased the twin-aisle A330-900 Neo aircraft from Portuguese charter Hi fly for special charter flights.
The aircraft has a configuration of 353 economy and 18 business class seats. The airline has been operating special charter flights to Europe and other destinations.
Punjab has one of the biggest diasporas settled in Canada, UK and other countries. During the complete lockdown in early April, Amritsar was one of the busiest airports in India for special repatriation flights operated by Canadian and UK foreign office. The Canadian government arranged a total of 25 repatriation flights from April till mid-May for Toronto and Vancouver repatriating almost 7500 Canadians from Amritsar.
For a long time, Punjabis are demanding direct flights to Canada from Amritsar. During the lockdown, thousands of students, permanent residents and citizens from Canada were stuck in Punjab. High demand for repatriation flights between Punjab and Canada during the lockdown is evidence that a flight between Amritsar and Toronto is needed permanently.
In April, Amritsar was the third busiest airport and in May, it was second busiest airport in India handling International traffic. Even Mumbai and other metro cities were left behind as the largest number of Canadians were stranded in Punjab. The potential of Amritsar for major destinations likes London, Toronto and Vancouver has been proven and it is time for airlines in India and abroad to evaluate and consider to fly direct to Amritsar in future.