New direct flights are expected to commence between Amritsar and London in early 2019, following significant ongoing discussion between London Luton Airport and a number of major Indian carriers.
With capacity issues at Heathrow Airport, the opportunity to provide flights using London Luton has been well recognised by major Indian airlines – the notable attractions for London Luton being the recent completion of a significant investment programme, as well as a total population catchment that exceeds all other London airports (>22 million people). Indeed, 80% of all Indian diaspora based within the UK, live within 2 hours of the airport.
London Luton Airport is now the 5th biggest in the United Kingdom, handling over 17 million passengers a year, holding the title as the fastest growing airport in London for several recent years. The airport benefits from being only 25 minutes on a high speed rail line to Central London, as well as having excellent road connections to the major Indian conurbations of West/East London, Luton and the Midlands (Birmingham, Leicester).
Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer for London Luton Airport, commented, “unsurprisingly we are receiving significant interest from Indian carriers and we remain very excited by the prospect of developing new services for the Indian market. With a very significant catchment of Indian diaspora living nearby, there is a fantastic opportunity to provide low-cost, direct services between London and Amritsar, making it easier for people to visit friends and relatives, or visit some of the many great sights that these cities have to offer”.
Hywel Rees, Principal for AMP Capital, a major shareholder of London Luton Airport, commented, “with an extensive transformation programme now completed at the airport, we look forward to welcoming new services from the Indian market, helping the local and surrounding communities fly direct to the destinations they’d like to, rather than having to connect through busy congested hubs”.
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, MP for Slough (the first turbaned Sikh MP in Europe), remarked, “after several attempts at meetings over the past year, I am very pleased that a much demanded, direct flight between London and Amritsar is now finally within sight. London is a global capital, while Amritsar is a global, spiritual and tourist destination visited by millions each year. Hence, it’s crucial that the two are connected once again and I’m sure these direct flights will be a great success.”