AI suspends Toronto flight till March

Aseem Bassi

Amritsar, Sept. 23 -- Even as voices have risen from various sections to re-start the Amritsar-Toronto flight operated by Air India, there seems no end to the wait as Air India has further suspended the flight till March 2013. Earlier, the flight was suspended till October end but now as many were waiting for the resumption of flight, the Air India has further postponed the flight operation.

And this continuous postponement is on since 4-5 months. The flight that operated on the Amritsar-Delhi-Toronto route was stopped when the pilots of they Air India went on strike few months back.

Thereafter even though, the pilots of the National Career came back to work, but this Amritsar-Delhi-Toronto route did not start. Especially, when their was lot of rush on this flight.

Various NGO's especially Amritsar Vikas Manch and even Member Parliament Navjot Singh Sidhu had continuously demanded to re-start this flight but Air India is just sticking to extending dates.

Not Only the MP Sidhu had raised demand but also met the Union Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and urged him to restart the operations.

Since a lot of people from Punjab are settled in Canada, this connection to Toronto was a major hit and lot of people from Punjab boarded this flight for flying to Canada.

But with the connection curtailed for the time, being the people of Punjab have no option other than going to New Delhi and boarding a flight for Canada.

Whosoever had made appeals; they have just got assurances from the National Career and nothing more. And now with flight being suspended till March 2013, the passengers will have to suffer for another 6 months.

Talking to HT, an Air India official on condition of anonymity said, "This flight was to resume till October end but now this has been further suspended till March 2013. We can't tell the reasons for the regular postponement, it is up to the Management to decided."

Notably, couple of years back, the Air India earlier operated the connection as Amritsar-London-Toronto but later the flight was converted into Amritsar-Delhi-Toronto.

Many NGO's have even alleged that keeping such an important flight away from Amritsar was a deliberate mechanism to bring loses to Amritsar Airport.

Even though, the infrastructure has come up as far as terminals are concerned but the airport is on the losing side, as far as international connectivity is concerned.

Few years back, Amritsar's Shree Guru Ram Dass International Airport had suffered a jolt when Singapore Airlines that operated on Amritsar-Singapore route and Jet Airways that daily operated on Amritsar-London route had stopped operations.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.