With a new Air India flight to Birmingham to be operational from August 1, the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport hopes to at least reduce the Rs. 50 crore annual loss that it stares at every year.
The route is considered to be lucrative as a lot of people from region travel to the UK. An added reason that could give the flight some popularity is that the national carriers' new aircraft Dreamliner will be deployed on the route.
The flight will run four times a week from Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The passengers boarding the flight from Amritsar will not have to change planes in New Delhi. Airport authorities add that another proposed connection to Australia in late August, via Dubai, will add to the traffic and help in cutting losses. The management feels that students going to
Australia could form bulk of the passenger traffic.Airport director Suneel Dutt said, "Birmingham is a key connection. We have high expectations. Withdrawal of the Amritsar-Toronto route by the Air India was a major setback. However, we soon hope to be back to the old glory and come back to profitable territory."
"Certainly, we are running into losses. It is also true that just one or two routes will not be of help in getting us into the black. We hope that Birmingham and later Australia will help us get some traffic going and cut losses."
He added that the flight to Birmingham was expected to get a good response as lot of Punjabis lived in the UK.