A 20,000 signature petition is being delivered to the India’s civil aviation minister today demanding the reintroduction of direct flights between Birmingham and India.
Birmingham airport’s chief executive Paul Kehoe and the leader of Birmingham City Council Mike Whitby masterminded the petition and are urging the region’s businesses and Asian communities to back their Fly India campaign.
Kehoe said “I find it incredible that although there are around 350,000 people of Indian origin living in the one hour catchment of the airport, there hasn’t been a direct flight to India since October 2008.
“To secure its slots at Heathrow, Air India sadly moved its Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto in 2008 to the capital despite demand never being a problem during its three years at Birmingham.
“In the last year of operation alone it carried 100,000 people between Amritsar, Delhi, Birmingham and Toronto and its load factors were often more than 85% full.
“We want to give the power back to the community by asking them to support our campaign and give us the evidence so we can show prospective airlines and the Indian authorities that there’s a compelling case – both economic and social – for services to be reintroduced.”
Whitby added: “ “We need the Indian community and businesses to get behind this campaign to ensure we send a powerful message to those airlines that are able to provide direct flights, such as Air India, Kingfisher and Jet Airways.“
To back the campaign sign the petition at http://flyindia.birminghamairport.co.uk or become a Facebook fan at facebook.com/FlyIndia.