CANADIAN MPS REQUEST FOR DIRECT FLIGHTS TO AMRITSAR
Given the demographic dominance of Sikhs and Punjabis in Canada, Conservative MPs have called upon the country’s flag carrier to establish direct flights between their country and Punjab state.
In a letter addressed to Air Canada, 5 Canadian MPs called for direct flights between Canada and Amritsar to bolster tourism and empower families to stay connected.
“As Canadian MPs representing vast and diverse communities, we write to highlight the significant economic and social value in establishing direct flights between Canada and the state of Punjab,” the MPs wrote..
According to estimates, as many as five lakh passengers travel annually from India to Toronto alone, the majority of them Punjabis.
The MPs stated that “direct flights between Canada and Amritsar would symbiotically bolster tourism, trade and empower families to stay connected”.
There are currently no direct flights between Canada to Amritsar, India, requiring travellers to make multiple stops along, making the journey “lengthy and arduous”.
Canada recently announced an expanded air transport deal with India, allowing designated airlines to operate an unlimited number of flights between the two countries.
But the pact gives Canadian airlines access to Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai, excluding Amritsar, despite demands from passengers from both sides.
There are approximately 950,000 Punjabis in Canada, accounting for roughly 2.6 per cent of the country’s population, as per the 2021 census.
Many of these families have direct ties to family, friends and businesses in Punjab.
India is Canada’s fourth-largest international airport market, and hundreds of thousands of Punjabis travel to the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Over 14,000 Canadian citizens and permanent residents joined an official parliamentary petition this year calling for the creation of a direct flight from Canada to Amritsar, the letter noted.
The MPs said that the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the significant need for flights from Amritsar directly to Canada.