NEW DELHI: An Australian delegation, led by H E Ted Baillieu, the Premier of Victoria, on Tuesday called on Union Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to discuss the proposed launch of Air India’s direct air services from New Delhi to Melbourne.
The commencement of direct Air India flight to Melbourne would be in the larger interest of Indian population residing in Australia and also in the business interest of the two countries. The ministry was also given the idea of funnelling traffic from Australia to Europe in the future.
Air India has proposed to launch direct services to Australia from Delhi commencing from the third quarter of 2012-13, using the B787 aircraft, which are expected to be inducted in May this year.
When these services are in place, Air India would be the only carrier serving the India-Australia market non-stop. The airline expects that the non-stop services to Australia would be a cash positive venture after getting various concessions from the Government of Victoria and New South Wales, and will operate at over 75 per cent passenger load factor on an average round the year.
Air India is holding fresh negotiations with the state governments of Victoria and New South Wales as well as the Airport Authority at Sydney and Melbourne to seek further concessions to make direct Air India flights cost effective. It is estimated that the traffic between India and Melbourne and Sydney is equal and ranges between 1.25 lakh to 1.3 lakh passengers each per annum.
The total size of the traffic moving between India and Australia has been estimated at about 3.35 lakh passengers per annum in each direction. This constitutes tourists, VFR, business, students and immigrants. In 2010, the tourist arrivals from Australia to India was about 1.65 lakh and from India to Australia was about 1.4 lakh.