OTTAWA, ON — The Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of
Canada and the Official Opposition, announced today he will fight to establish
direct flights between Canada and Amritsar.
Since Punjabi Canadians started coming to Canada in the 1880s, they have made
an enormous contribution to our country. Many Punjabi Canadians still have strong
familial, economic and cultural ties to the Punjab region.
Canada once had direct flights to Amritsar in the Punjab region. Amritsar is a
hugely important city for all Sikhs and is the home of the holiest site in Sikhism –
the Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib. Punjabi Canadians could
visit their family and friends, effortlessly conduct business and visit religious
landmarks like the Golden Temple.
However, this flight link was cancelled, and Punjabi Canadians have been calling
on the federal government to deliver direct flights between Amritsar and Canada
ever since. “But even after years of activism from the Punjabi community, the
Liberal government has failed to fight gatekeepers and open the skies to Amritsar,” said Pierre Poilievre, the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Conservative
In 2022, Trudeau signed an Open Skies Agreement with India that abandoned
Punjabi Canadians. Travelers wishing to go to Amritsar often have to wait an
additional seven hours once they arrive in India or face an 8-10 hour drive to reach
“We need common sense,” said Poilievre. “We have the largest Punjabi diaspora
anywhere in the world. Direct flights to Amritsar exist from locations like London,
UK and Milan, Italy, where the Punjabi population is smaller. Punjabi Canadians
are one of the fastest-growing population groups in Canada. There is a clear case
for bringing home these direct flights that I am working with stakeholders to
establish,” said Poilievre.
Poilievre has been fighting hard, advocating for Punjabi Canadians and working to
bring home flights from Amritsar. As part of his efforts, Poilievre has:
- Met with the Indian High Commissioner.
- Written a letter to Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Transport.
- Met with Air Canada.
- Met with Air India.
“After 8 years of Justin Trudeau, Punjabi Canadians still have to face expensive
and tedious trips if they want to travel to Amritsar,” said Poilievre. “I will fight to
open the skies between Amritsar and Canada, allowing Punjabi Canadians to visit
their loved ones and grow the ties between our country and the Punjab region. A
direct flight will mean that seniors, families travelling with children, and anyone
with a disability will have the ease and convenience of one flight, instead of a
stressful layover and transfer. It will also help passengers and airlines manage the chaos at our airports by creating one less flight for passengers and carriers. We must bring home these direct flights for our people.” The announcement was welcomed by the FlyAmritsar Initiative, an independent advocacy group working to promote better air connectivity to Amritsar. “We welcome Mr. Poilievre’s calls for renegotiation of air service agreements with India to include direct flights to Amritsar. This will provide a much-needed service to the Punjabi community in Canada,” said Sameep Singh Gumtala, the Global Convener of FlyAmritsar Initiative, Anant Dhillon, Convener for North American region and Spokesperson in Canada Mohit Dhanju. “The Canadian Government’s renegotiation will help create new opportunities for Canadians and Indians alike. Mr. Poilievre’s call for renegotiation is a welcome step in the right direction,” they said. Doing this will bring common sense convenience to our citizens and residents and strengthen trade, tourism and cultural ties between the Punjab region and Canada. Punjabi Canadians deserve a direct flight to Amritsar and support from the federal government to establish these routes. It’s time to remove gatekeepers who stand in the way of our citizens. Let’s bring home flights from Amritsar.