• Civil aviation, AAI, Amritsar airport director told to hold meeting

    The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday asked the Union ministry of civil aviation, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the director of the Amritsar international airport to hold a meeting with senior advocate M L Sarin, who is amicus curiae, regarding the operation of international flights by private airlines from the holy city. The meeting would be held within three weeks.

    Sarin will examine all possibilities of operating flights by private airlines interested in launching operation from Amritsar and submit his assessment to the HC. A division bench headed by Justice S S Saron passed these orders during the hearing of an ongoing petition filed by the Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) against the decision of Air India to divert the Amritsar-Birmingham flight to Delhi. Assistant solicitor general Chetan Mittal has been asked by the bench to facilitate the holding of the meeting.
    The order came after the court was informed that Air India was not making profit from its Amritsar-Birmingham flight. On March 28, the HC had asked Air India to explain as to why it had diverted the Delhi-Birmingham flight from Amritsar to Delhi despite the fact that majority of passengers were from Punjab. During the hearing, counsel for the AVM, Ankur Soni submitted a list of private airlines that were interested in starting a flight from the Amritsar airport for various international destinations.

    The AVM had approached the HC, seeking resumption of non-stop international Air India flights from Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji International Airport, Amritsar, to London, Birmingham and other destinations. It has been arguing that as per the 2015-16 statistics, 1,36,046 passengers travelled on the Amritsar-Delhi-Birmingham route. It was also argued that Delhi was the only airport which charges user development fee (UDF) from both arriving and departing passengers. This means that the charge for the Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham flight would be around Rs 1,500 while Amritsar charged only Rs 950.
    The Delhi International Airport is charging around Rs 550 excess per passenger which for 1,36,046 passengers comes around to Rs 75 crore, which is the amount Air India is paying in excess to the Delhi airport but still not ready to start its flight from Amritsar. It was also stated that the c of Amritsar airport was Rs 50 crore, which could be compensated if Air India started its flight from there. Lanny McDonald Authentic Jersey

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