The demand to increase Air India’s flight frequency between Birmingham and Amritsar is gaining momentum as the demand for the route continues to grow. More than 10 lawmakers from the region have written to the airline to restore its pre-pandemic schedule between the two cities to boost trade and tourism ties between the UK and India.
The number of passengers travelling between Birmingham and Amritsar has always been high. Earlier, such passengers had no option but to travel from London, but this changed when Air India introduced twice-a-week non-stop flights between the two cities in 2018.
The flights immediately became popular with impressive load factors, but like many popular routes, BHX-ATQ was dropped following the COVID pandemic, with flight reinstated last year but from the earlier six-week schedule, it became just once a week.
British Indian-origin MP Preet Kaur Gill is leading a campaign for more direct flights between Birmingham and Amritsar in India. Birmingham has a large Punjabi and Sikh population that benefits significantly from direct connections.
For example, in 2018, when Air India started direct service between the two destinations, it was met with much fanfare. But after COVID, Air India first suspended the flight and later resumed it on a lesser frequency. And now, Birmingham MP Preet Kaur Gill and 11 other MPs have written to the airline requesting it to restore the previous schedule to meet the high demand from the local population.
“While it was welcome that the Birmingham-Amritsar direct flight resumed last August as Covid travel restrictions relaxed, we are concerned that the regularity of flights have remained significantly scaled down. Currently, there is only one direct flight per week to Amritsar, Punjab from Birmingham International Airport, and we are keen to see that this is increased, as it has from London Heathrow Airport, in the coming months.”Birmingham MP Preet Kaur Gill
Before writing to Air India, Gill had already communicated with Birmingham Airport and met with a positive response. The airport’s aviation director, Tom Screen attended a conference in Asia specifically to discuss route development with Indian Airlines.
Air India had plans to increase the frequency of flights from once a week to six but had issues with not getting enough spare parts for their Boeing 787 fleet, which means that a number of these aircraft are currently grounded.
Hopefully, under the new ownership and with Campbell Wilson taking charge of the airline, Air India will soon resolve its fleet issues and increase frequency to Birmingham.