LONDON- Gareth Thomas, the Labour MP representing Harrow West and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Gujaratis (APPG), has reached out to three airlines—Air India (AI), British Airways (BA), and Virgin Atlantic (VS)—requesting that they explore the possibility of acquiring additional flight slots for direct routes to Gujarat from various British airports.
Thomas emphasized the strong interest and support within the British Gujarati community for more convenient direct flights to Gujarat.
UK MP Demands Direct Gujarat Flights
He pointed out that Gujarat is currently the fastest-growing state in India, and for many British Gujaratis, traveling to Gujarat for various purposes such as family visits, business engagements, religious activities, or sports events poses significant challenges.
As of now, the only UK airport offering direct flights to Gujarat is Gatwick. This presents an inconvenience for individuals residing far from Gatwick, necessitating long journeys to access flights.
Cricket World Cup 2023 Drift
Thomas further highlighted the significance of the upcoming Cricket World Cup, scheduled to be hosted by India in 2023, for the British Gujarati community.
Numerous community members are planning to travel to India to attend the matches, and the availability of direct flights would greatly enhance the convenience of this journey.
Thomas firmly believes that there should be a range of flight options to Gujarat, offering both affordability and high-quality service.
The Department for Transport is currently offering airlines the opportunity to return temporarily unused slots at major airports, which are then put up for auction.
Thomas sees this as a chance for airlines to experiment with new routes, expand capacity on existing ones, or assess the demand for additional direct flights to Gujarat.
In his letters to the airlines, Thomas requested that they contemplate bidding for slots to establish direct routes to Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat, or other airports within the state.
He also invited the airlines to share their insights on whether the auction process could serve as a means to gauge the market interest in more direct flights to and from Gujarat.
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