Air India, the flag carrier airline of India, has announced a new direct service route to the North Indian city of Amritsar from Birmingham Airport, the only UK airport to operate non-stop services on this route.
The new Amritsar-Birmingham direct route will be served twice a week. Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple, considered the most important pilgrimage site in the Sikh religion. Air India, which started its UK service in August 2013, presently operates a popular daily direct service from Birmingham to Delhi, carrying nearly 500,000 passengers so far, Birmingham Airport said in a release.
The new service will be operated using the Boeing 787-8 series aircraft, which has 256 seats in a split cabin, consisting of 18 business class and 238 economy seats. The details of the route launch, including the days of flight, are to yet be announced.
William Pearson, Aviation Director, Birmingham Airport commented: ‘It is great news that we will have non-stop connections to two Indian cities. With over 200,000 British-Indian people who travel to India to visit friends and relatives, and for tourism and business interests, this additional destination shows the large demand within the region for non-stop Amritsar services from the Midlands. Air India has been a successful partner for over four years and offers great connections to India with services operated by the new Boeing 787-8 ‘Dreamliner’ aircraft.’
Pankaj Srivastava, Director – Commercial and Board Member of Air India said: ‘We are delighted that we are able to announce that we are planning to commence non-stop services between Birmingham and Amritsar twice a week, starting early 2018, recognising the consumer demand from the Midlands’ region to Amritsar, Punjab.’
Commenting on the announcement, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: ‘One of the most common issues raised when I talk to the Sikh community in our region is that they and their families are unable to fly direct to Amritsar. Ever since, we’ve been working with Air India and Birmingham Airport to explore whether we could introduce this direct service for the 135,000 Sikhs living in the West Midlands. I am delighted this will start early next year – I know it will be well received news and a well-used service.’
Preet Gill, MP added: ‘I am delighted at this announcement of direct flights to Amritsar. I would like to thank both Birmingham Airport and Air India for bringing this non-stop flight to Amritsar to the region.
‘This is wonderful news for the West Midlands, not just for the Punjabi community, but for business too.’