The West Midlands Business Council has joined the fight to restore direct non-stop air links between Birmingham and India.
The city was left without a straight link to India after the country’s national carrier dropped the route to Amritsar at the end of last year. Air India had been hoping to return to Birmingham International Airport this spring, but instead had to focus on its routes out of Heathrow.
The business community in the West Midlands has been lobbying the Indian government to change competition laws that stop any other firms moving in to run the route instead.
The West Midlands Business Council has written to Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, the High Commissioner for India, to protest about the situation.
In his letter to the High Commissioner, WMBC executive director James Watkins said the West Midlands business community warmly welcomed closer business links with India. He said: “Since 2006, more than 1,500 jobs have been created by 16 Indian companies.
“There are now over 30 Indian owned businesses in the West Midlands region, such as Tata Motors, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Tata Steel, Mahindra & Mahindra and Aditya Birla.
“In addition, the Punjabi community here provides greater economic prosperity for both the Midlands and the Indian economy. Despite these clear economic advantages between our two countries, there is now no direct service between Birmingham International Airport and the Punjab.
“Using those from a congested Terminal Three at Heathrow Airport leads to additional costs and delays. We understand Birmingham International Airport would warmly welcome discussions with carriers that would enable direct services to take place once more.“