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06 July 2020 English

Punjabi Diaspora welcomes new flight connecting Toronto with Amritsar

Punjabi Diaspora welcomes new flight connecting Toronto with Amritsar - NZ Punjabi News

Qatar Airways new Doha-Toronto flight will conveniently connect with Amritsar
July 6, 2020: FlyAmritsar Initiative (FAI) welcomed the start of Qatar Airways thrice weekly flights to Toronto from their hub at Hamad International Airport in Doha on July 4, 2020. In a press release from Canada, FlyAmritsar North America Convenor, Anantdeep Singh Dhillon informed that amidst the lockdown and suspension of international flight by India, there is some good news for the Punjabi diaspora in Canada. After the resumption of International flights, the launch of this direct flight will provide seamless one-stop connectivity between Amritsar-Toronto via Doha.

Dhillon said, “Qatar Airways has been operating daily direct flights between Doha & Amritsar
providing one-stop short transit connections via Doha to about nine North American destinations including four weekly flights to Montreal, Canada. The timings of this newly introduced flight between Doha-Toronto also enables short transit time of about 3 hours 45 min through Doha. A large concentration of Punjabi diaspora lives in and around Toronto and Vancouver in Canada but due to non-availability of direct flights to these cities from Amritsar, people were forced to travel through Delhi. With the introduction of this new route by Qatar Airways, Amritsar will now have seven-weekly flights to Canada via Doha.”

Every year thousands of students from Punjab move to Canada for higher studies, while at the same time thousands of immigrants settled in Canada travel back to Punjab every year. Their current options are either flying to Delhi and then board an onward connecting flights or travel by road to Delhi from Punjab.

Even with the operation of direct Delhi-Toronto flights by Air India and Air Canada, passengers from the region have been facing a lot of inconvenience of traveling via Delhi that includes time taken for
immigration, long layovers and rechecking of their luggage. With Qatar Airways flights now providing seamless connectivity to Montreal and now Toronto, it will become easy for thousands to visit Punjab, said Dhillon.

The Global Convener of FlyAmritsar Initiative, Sameep Singh Gumtala said, “Qatar Airways
recently worked closely with the Government of Canada to repatriate around 8000 Canadian citizens from Amritsar Airport alone, which is half of the total number of Canadians safely brought back home from the Middle East and Asia during the recent crisis. The airline operated about 20 chartered evacuation flights from Amritsar to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. It is high time that world’s leading airlines, now knowing the real potential of Amritsar airport for destinations like Toronto, Vancouver and London will consider starting direct flights to Amritsar in near future.”
Gumtala also said that FlyAmritsar Initiative’s ongoing advocacy efforts doesn’t just end here, we
have been consistently writing letters, holding meetings with many airlines at different national, regional & international platforms for convenient connectivity with Amritsar from many destinations including Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

Qatar airways first commercial flight landed at Toronto Pearson on the afternoon of July 4 th , 2020
operated by a revolutionary Airbus A350-900 offering 36 seats in Business Class and 247 seats in Economy Class. The airline has been operating 4x weekly flights to Montreal, while they were restricted to start direct flights to other destinations in Canada due to constraints in bilateral air service agreements. This provision changed recently with the updating of this agreement. On the other hand, Qatar also has seat restrictions in its air service agreements with India, directly impacting the number of passengers they can fly between Doha and Amritsar per week.
In a recent statement available on its website the Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al
Baker said “In these difficult times, customers are looking for an airline they can rely on and trust. We have worked closely with the Government of Canada and its embassies around the world during this crisis to FlyAmritsar Initiative, a civil society advocacy for development & direct flights from Amritsar International Airport bring home safely over 16,000 Canadians through our scheduled flights to Montreal and special charter flights to Toronto and Vancouver.”

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