One of the most interesting markets for Indian airlines to consider is Australia. For the longest time, this market has not been served very well. Qantas used to operate to Mumbai but pulled out in 2012. Air India started operating the Delhi – Sydney/Melbourne flights using their newly delivered Boeing 787 aircraft. For Air India, this was a long and thin route, and it was served perfectly well by the new plane type. For Indian travellers, they no longer had to fly via South East Asia to reach their destination.
The two countries have a lot of tourism going between them, and also business is on the rise. But we never saw much more route development on this route after Air India. Until recently when we heard that Jet Airways is considering adding a new flight to Sydney from Mumbai.
This past week, India and Australia signed a new Air Services Agreement, which allows for airlines between the two countries to mount flights between 6 airports in the other country. For Indian airlines, they have access to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and one yet to be named airport. For Australian carriers, they have access to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.
The previous bilateral agreement between the two countries had a limit of 6500 seats per weak between the two countries, and Air India is the only airline flying from Delhi to Sydney/Melbourne. They recently increased flights to Sydney as well. Jet Airways is expected to announce their flights to Sydney anytime soon.
While this won’t mean airlines would be falling over each other to launch flights, what we should look forward to is a gradual addition of flights when the route economics make sense. I wonder when will Qantas return to India, but I hope they do so shortly.