Air India has painted and will launch a new flight depicting Sikh religious symbol, ‘Ik Onkar’ on the tail of one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner, in a unique gesture to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder, Guru Nank Dev.
The 256-seater aircraft, which will fly on October 31, will facilitate Sikh pilgrims visiting holy shrine Golden Temple located in Amritsar city.
This is the first time when the state-run airline has depicted a religious symbol on its plane.
Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, on Monday lauded the move and shared some of the pictures of the aircraft.
“Heartwarming to see ‘Ik Onkar’ painted on the tail of @airindiain’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner as part of the historic celebrations on the #550thPrakashPurb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji,” Singh said in a Tweet.
Heartwarming to see ‘Ik Onkar’ painted on the tail of @airindiain’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner as part of the historic celebrations on the #550thPrakashPurb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/rfKvsaCdBc
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 28, 2019
The aircraft, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will fly three times a week—Monday, Thursday and Saturday on—Mumbai -Amritsar-Stansted route. An airline official said London Stansted as its third point of call was due to the unavailability of slots at the Heathrow airport. The distance between the two airports is nearly 105 km.
The symbol, ‘Ik Onkar,’ is a central tenet of Sikh religious philosophy. The religious symbol “Ek Onkar” means “God is One”.
Meanwhile, governmental sources said that the decision to put a religious symbol on the aircraft is controversial as it could lead to demands from various other communities to display their symbol.
“This is a very controversial decision. Tomorrow, Muslims may demand to display their symbols. In a secular country such steps should be avoided,” said a government official.
Earlier this month, Air India painted an image of the Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, on his 150th birth anniversary on the tail of one of its Airbus A320 aircraft flying to Delhi-Mumbai.
(With input from agencies)