A new service is set to be launched from Birmingham Airport to northern India.

Air India, which already operates a daily service to Delhi from the airport, plans to introduce two non-stop flights per week to Amritsar in the Punjab state next year.

Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple Gurdwara, considered to be the most important pilgrimage site in the Sikh religion.

Air India services started in Birmingham in August 2013 since when the Delhi route has carried almost 500,000 passengers.

Birmingham Airport's aviation director William Pearson said: "It is great news that we will have non-stop connections to two Indian cities.

"With over 200,000 British-Indian people who travel to India to visit friends and relatives, and for tourism and business interests, this additional destination shows the large demand within the region for non-stop Amritsar services from the Midlands.

"Air India has been a successful partner for over four years and offers great connections to India with services operated by the new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft."

Birmingham Airport aviation director William Pearson (left) and Air India commercial director Pankaj Srivastava
Birmingham Airport aviation director William Pearson (left) and Air India commercial director Pankaj Srivastava

Pankaj Srivastava, director of commercial Air India, added: "We are delighted to announce we are planning to commence non-stop services between Birmingham and Amritsar twice a week, recognising the consumer demand from the Midlands' region to Amritsar.

"Air India is always very sensitive to the needs of the consumer and is pleased to be connecting the two cities, thereby adding a new city pairing for Air India's expanding global network with the only non-stop UK Amritsar service."

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: "One of the most common issues raised when I talk to the Sikh community in our region is that they and their families are unable to fly directly to Amritsar.

"Ever since, we've been working with Air India and Birmingham Airport to explore whether we could introduce this direct service for the 135,000 Sikhs living in the West Midlands.

"I am delighted this will start early next year - I know it will be well received news and a well-used service."

Edgbaston MP Preet Gill added: "I would like to thank both the airport and Air India for bringing these non-stop flights to Amritsar to the region.

"Sandwell is twinned with Amritsar and as a local councillor I campaigned for these non-stop flights.

"This is wonderful news for the West Midlands, not just for the punjabi community, but for business too."

The exact details of the route's launch the days it will be flying are still to be announced.