Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president and Lok Sabha member from Amritsar Capt Amarinder Singh has sought international flight operations at Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport.
The PPCC chief led a delegation of party leaders on Friday to meet Union aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju in New Delhi and also submitted a memorandum to him.
Besides Captain, the delegation comprised state legislators Sukhwinder Singh and Navtej Singh Cheema and Tarn Taran district president Sukhpal Singh Bhullar.
The PPCC president told the minister the Amritsar airport serves tourists and devotees from all over the world. “The geographical location of this airport is such that it is beneficial for all passengers from the region who wish to fly to European, American and Middle-Eastern sectors as all flights from Delhi towards these sectors fly over the Amritsar airspace and take 40 minutes to cover the distance,” he said.
Captain suggested to the minister that negotiations should be initiated with airlines to start direct flight operations from Amritsar to Toronto, Birmingham, London, Singapore, Bangkok, Perth, Melbourne and other prominent cities, so that passengers face no inconvenience.
The Amristar MP told the minister that the city airport is well-equipped with modern equipment, including CAT-II instrument landing system that will soon be upgraded to CATIII system, which will facilitate flight operations in visibility up to 50 metre.
“The Amritsar airport is capable to handle operations of aircrafts up to type B-747. Fourteen aircrafts can be simultaneously parked at 14 bays in addition to one Cargo apron. Out of these parking bays, two are provided with the facility of aerobridge and two more aerobridges are going to be installed very soon,” he added.
Captain highlighted the number of non-resident Indians (NRIs) travelling to the region besides the high potential of religious tourism. “More than 40% passengers travelling from Delhi to American and European sectors belong to Punjab. These passengers have to catch flights from the Delhi airport, for which they have to travel by different modes from Punjab to Delhi, which consumes around 10 hours,” he said.
Amarinder Singh said surveys have been conducted in which frequent fliers from Punjab to other countries have discussed difficulties they face in managing time and resources while catching flights from the Delhi airport.
“Moreover, due to no direct flights to Toronto and Birmingham, world-class cargo facility at the airport is also being underutilised,” said the parliamentarian.