Indian makes world go round... and fast
Toronto: SkyLink Travel, which is part of the Canada-based SkyLink Group owned by Indian-Canadian Surjit Babra, claims to have created the world’s fastest travel search engine, much of which was built in the Indian city of Noida. Called Skylink Global Booking Engine, it is also North America’s largest provider of airfares to travel agencies, chains and consortiums. Surjit Babra, chairman and CEO of SkyLink Group of Companies, said, “On our search engine we offer 35 million fares in an instant. When you type out your two travel cities—say from Little Rock to Amsterdam—in an instant this search engine sorts out whether flights are available between these destinations, which airlines operate and what the fares are.” He said the search engine was part of the group’s expansion into travel and hospitality industry. “Right now this search engine is available to travel agents who pay us to become members. Fourteen people load the data on it everyday, making us the leader in this area.” Babra said their Noida-based office was handling much of the work related to the search engine, travel portals and web sites, e-fliers and customer calls. Babra, who has roots in Ludhiana, launched the SkyLink Group of Companies 25 years ago in partnership with Walter Arbib, who is currently the group’s president. With an annual turnover of $330 million in travel and tourism, the group has various wings. But it is renowned because of its SkyLink Aviation, which is a world leader in carrying food, medicines and peacekeepers to the troubled spots of the world on behalf of the UN. Not surprisingly, it is profiled in school textbooks in Ontario. IANS Punjabi ‘Qaida cadet’ gets 11 years for kidnapping Vancouver: The prison sentence of an Indian-Canadian who kidnapped the daughter of his former employer and demanded $500,000 in ransom by posing as an Al Qaida terrorist has been reduced by two years by the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Amandeep Singh Randhawa, 26, was sentenced to 13 years in June for kidnapping, but a November 30 appeal reduced this to 11 years. His five-year sentence for robbery remained unchanged. The father of the girl, who owned the furniture store where Randhawa worked, had sacked him from his job. To settle scores with him, Randhawa and his friend kidnapped the employer’s daughter, Rachna Jaswal, on January 19 while she was travelling alone in her car. IANS