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An organisation calling for direct flights held a protest outside Leinster House last week.
An organisation calling for direct flights held a protest outside Leinster House last week.

Calls for direct flights between Ireland and India

Ireland is home to 45,000 people from India.
Apr 17th 2019, 6:21 AM 28,449 44

MEMBERS OF AN Indian diaspora group are lamenting the lack of a direct flight between Ireland and India. 

Over 45,000 Indians live in Ireland today with the number expected to continually grow over the coming years due to demand for skilled workers.

The organisation held a peaceful demonstration outside Leinster House last week to call for change. 

Currently, no flight directly links the two countries with many Indian residents travelling to London to catch a flight back to their home country. 

Making the case for a direct flight, Shashank Chakerwarti (who is an Irish peace commissioner) said that a direct flight between the two countries would not only improve cultural relations between them but would also benefit both countries economically post Brexit.

“A direct flight signifies the cultural, historical and economic ties between the two fast-growing economies, especially post-Brexit,” he told TheJournal.ie

Ireland will be the only English-speaking country in the EU, it will play a vital role in enhancing Indo-EU relations, as well as, Indo-US relations.

However, Chakerwarti said he realised that such flights would not be possible from the get-go. 

“I am aware that though flying once a week is not feasible. However, flying from Delhi to Dublin, on one day, next Dublin to Mumbai, then Mumbai-Dublin, Dublin-Chennai, Chennai-Dublin and finally Dublin-Delhi will be highly beneficial for any airlines that chose to connect the two Republics.” 

Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond has subsequently called on Minister for Transport, Shane Ross to consider the advantages of the flights, calling India a valuable resource to the country.

“This is a great cause. We are at the early stages of Dublin’s investment into ties with India, whether to Mumbai, to Delhi, or to wherever. Because post-Brexit, it is going to be so important that we keep our already existing connection to India.” 

“From an Irish point of view, I think India is a great resource in terms of trade investment and co-operation in so many areas.”

So let’s get this happening, let’s get it going.

A spokesperson for the department, however, confirmed its limited role in the process. 

“The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport facilitates connectivity to/from Ireland through the negotiation of Air Services Agreements, ensuring the underlying traffic rights necessary to operate such flights are in place,” the spokesperson said. 

“However, the decision to operate a specific route is an operational matter for airlines and is generally based on the commercial viability of the routes in question. The Department does not have any input into this decision-making process.”

Aer Lingus and Air India have yet to respond to queries from TheJournal.ie.

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Callum Lavery

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