The Flying Sikh

Air India has started international flights to Amritsar from Toronto and Birmingham on a new Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto route. Given that 50% of the passengers flying through Delhi’s airport are Punjabis, this should be an improvement in service for those passengers and help boost tourism as well.

The flights will be operated with state-of-the-art, fly-by-wire Boeing 777-222 ER aircraft on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. [webindia]

Sunday’s inaugural flight was flagged off by the federal civil aviation minister, Praful Patel, and Punjab’s chief minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. To handle the increased air traffic, the airport at Amritsar is being given a $15m makeover which includes a new terminal building and modern landing aids. [BBC]

This is just the first step. These flights will be upgraded to daily in the upcoming months and additional flights from Amritsar to the Gulf and other western countries are planned.

Air India isn’t the only airline increasing its flights through Rajasansi Airport; everybody wants a piece of the NRI action. In 8 years, the number of flights has increased from 3 to 56 per week:

Singapore Airline, which landed here four months ago, has been going full–three days a week. And with a new terminal likely to open in October, British Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Phuket Airlines, Tajikistan Airlines, Uzbek Airways and Air-India are also lining up a landing here, say officials.

Even cargo flights, such as those of Ariana to Kabul, are planning to double their flights from three to six in a week, while First Flight, a courier service, has evinced interest in starting operations, say officials. [Indian Express]

Interestingly, this new Air India route is a cousin of an older cold-war era Mumbai-Delhi-Amritsar-Moscow-Birmingham route from two decades ago:

If you want tickets on the new route, you might want to move fast. The first ten flights have already sold out and subsequent flights are already heavily booked.

9 thoughts on “The Flying Sikh

  1. There are large Punjabi and Gujarati communities in the UK. The Punjabis generally fly from Delhi and the the Gujaratis from Mumbai. About time there was a direct flight to Birmingham from the Punjab given that ol’ Brum is “sardar-heavy”. PIA have had flights from Islamabad to Manchester for ages to cater for the Pakistani communities in the northwest.

    Next step is for Air India to start flights from Ahmedabad to East Midlands airport to satisfy the “Patelbhais” in Leicester. Incidentally, Brit-Sepia Readers.. BMI will soon be flying to Mumbai. How wonderful are these open skies?

  2. I reckon they could sell out two flights a day to Amritsar from Birmingham.

  3. Easily. Flights from LHR to Delhi are always unforgivably overbooked.

  4. What’s with this universal Indian obsession with ‘going home’? For God’s sake, we kill ourselves to move to the UK, only to spend wads of money to go ‘home’. Home for me is the UK. India is a place I’d visit once in my life. Nice place to visit, but not to live. All this talk of planeloads of Indians going from the UK underscores the weird two mindedness we have. We, on one hand look forward (migrate for a better life), but on the other hand keep looking backward to a homeland that really didn’t give us what we needed in the first place. Yes, people have the right to spend their money as they please. By all means ‘go home’.

  5. A big reason I hate to travel to India (Punjab) is the “torturing road travel” from New Delhi to Punjab. After flying for long hours from Chicago to New Delhi, with a “DVT” already in my legs, the subsequent long hours of road travel on Indian roads and numerous stoppings by ‘eager to rip-off quick cash’ Indian policemen and DTO’s is simply “plain torture”! A direct flight to Amritsar from Toronto, Chicago, New York will definitely make mine as well as milliions of other Punjabis’ life easier, …..and then I could travel there lot more frequently as I want to!

  6. Why isnt there a direct flight to Punjab. Its strange since there apparently is a lot of Punjabi people travelling to Toronto and other cities. Also Punjab is a rich state. People should push for better air service there.

  7. hey guyz. id just like to tell u about air india. the crew are great, the food is excellent, but the one thing that i think is not good is that they dont care much about the aircraft(engines, fuselage, frame, etc..) they just care bout making $$$ not the lives of the passengers.

  8. Dear Sirs,

    My name is Diana Ben-Avides, I am Jewish and I have lived in Miami, Florida for the last 25 years of my life. I want you to know that I am found of your culture and I have a lot of respect for a lot of members of the same.

    The reason that I am approaching you all, through this letter, is to be ablel to get the information that will give me the red light to marry the man that has proposed marriage to me, whom happens to be a Sikh, member of your community.

    I believe and I have hope that there is more goodness in this world than evil, but, I think I am entittled to, and have all rights to investigate about a man, whom I happen to know very little of, due to the circumstances, but wants to marry me.

    I say, the circumstances, because, his family is not here, in Miami, Orlando, nor USA. The little that I know is that he came to Canada back in 1986, in Toronto, and that he has a brother whom also lives there with his family. He told me that he was arranged in marriage by his family, since he was very young, and that he had to marry the lady, in order to please his family. According to him, the marriage was a disaster, and so his family, in Toronto and in india, came to know of the very un-happy marriage, and therefore encouraged him to get a divorce.

    Such a divorce took place about 3 years back, and that was, when, he decided to move to Orlando, Florida, where he has been working as a contractor( building houses and other constructions). He told me that his partner, as a matter of fact, whose son got married recently, with one of the daughters, of the owners, of Punjab Palace in Orlando, Florida, last weekend, was the person that had provided him with a lot of support since he came to USA. At the moment, he is living at 7403 S.W. 129 PL, Ocala, Florida, 34473-5210. His number there is 352-347-0429 and cell 352-598-2087. That is one of the model homes, that they are building in an area called marion, in Ocala.

    His name is Ranjit Signh Aulakh, according to him, he is 40 years old, but looks older, and he wears a turban. The interesting part is that when you call information to get the name tht the home number is under, it says that it belongs to a Mr. Gill Balwinder.

    The reason that I got very suspicious about this man, whom, I happen to care for very much, is because, he had told me that he was a citizen of Canada, but, recently, I had the opportunity to look at his passport, and it was an Indian passport, which had a visa from USA, since 1996 to 2014 to come and go out of the country.

    I asked him immediately, that I did not understand, if he was a Canadian Citizen, why he was travelling with an Indian passport, and he said, that it did not matter, because Canada and India had dual citizenship, and that he could come and go from the USA as many times he pleased. I repplied that I did not doubt that for a minute, but, if he was indeed a Canadian, no matter what other dual citizenship he had, would it not better to come into USA, as a Canadian, than and Indian? He said that I did not know anything, and that he was a Canadian, but that he had not been able to get his Canadian passport, and that they took a very long time, because Canada did a very extensive back ground check.

    At that moment, I became very suspicious of the whole situation, and if he is lieyign to me about something as simple as that, he might be lieying to me about his status, whether married or single.

    I always used to tell him, that I did not understand why men lie when approaching a lady. They are just asking for trouble when they do that, and they might lose someone really good at the same time. Unlike, when a man approaches a woman with the truth, he is giving her the opportunity to decide if to come and play along, knowing what the situation is and where she stands, and if she does come along, then, he has nothing to worry about, because he has been honest and truthful. Whatever happens in the furute is the woman’s risk and problem, because she knew the conditions since the beginning.

    I am very sorry to bother you all with this matter, but I know that among you, there is someone who has a sister, a mother, a daughter, a female relative, that you would not want or wish to get cheated by anyone. It is not right to play with the life and the feelings of a woman, especially, when this woman has done nothing, but to care and be good to the man.

    Please, if you can provide me with some feedback about Mr. Ranjit Sing Aulakh in Orlando/Ocala, Florida, I would thank you and the heavens would bless you always for your good deeds.

    With all due respect, I submit my appeal and request to you and your community.

    Diana Ben-Avides 786-344-1151 Please read the e-mail below, which also provides you with a pic of Mr. Ranjit Singh Aulakh.