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Canadian MPs request for direct flights to Amritsar

Los Angeles, Nov 23, 2022 A.Gary Singh

In a letter addressed to Air Canada, MPs Tim Uppal, Jasraj Singh Hallan, Bradley Vis and Mark Strahl called for direct flights between Canada and Amritsar to bolster tourism and empower families to stay connected. Given the demographic dominance of Sikhs and Punjabis in Canada, Conservative MPs have called upon the the country’s flag carrier to establish direct flights between their country and Punjab state.

“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 last week.

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.

According to the 2021 census, there are roughly 950,000 Punjabis living in Canada, or 2.6% of the entire population. Many of these families have close connections to friends, relatives, and companies in Punjab. Thousands of Punjabis visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar from India, which is Canada’s fourth-largest international airport market.