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Air Canada faces diaspora's ire

The national airliner's decision to kill the only direct flight to India has angered the Indo-Canadian business community.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2007 14:27 IST

Air Canada's decision to kill the only direct flight to India in favour of expanding service to China has provoked anger in the Indo-Canadian business community.

The Canadian national airline confirmed Friday it would be discontinuing all direct flights between Toronto and New Delhi in early May - a cost-cutting move, the company said, brought on by declining sales for the route.

The airline currently flies the route every day, the only non-stop flight between Canada and India.

The decision has angered many in the Indo-Canadian business community who claim the move is short-sighted and that empty seats would soon be filled due to India's mushrooming economy.

"This was a big bridge between the two countries that has been snapped," Kim Rathee, president of the Canada-India Business Council told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Earlier this month, Air Canada announced it would add a second daily flight to Beijing from Vancouver and increase the regularity of its Toronto-Shanghai route for a total of five daily flights between the two countries.

The planes for the new flights are being diverted from the Toronto-India route.

Rathee told the Toronto Star daily newspaper that he was puzzled by the decision in light of a recent push by the Canadian government for companies to explore doing business with India.

"It's a lousy decision," he was quoted as saying.

"It's a huge setback to the Canada-India business momentum because Air Canada was a very visible symbol of cooperation and business between the two countries."