India Australia sign open skies agreement!

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.

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

More articles by Ajay »


  1. Regardless of all this ; when will India travellers have pleasure of arriving to any country with visa on arrival option. We suck on this. All the time applying visa before arriving. Its a painfull work. MEA should look into it. We want to feel proud & strong with indian passport also. Like other country.

    • @sagar chatterjee when some Indians stop overstepping their visa limits and start to leave in time. A visa is a due diligence on people to grant them the right to enter and stay a country. Everyone has their own way of looking at it!

      • to start overstepping we first need to get visa on arrival. We never had that oppurtunity. Even country like singpore they so many visa on arrival status for there citizenship. An india is the only country in the world where people over stays!! Look at US. Full of illegal migrats. EU full of bangladeshi illegal migrants. Even for a country small as singapore we need to do visa. Its actually all about the diplomatic relationship we share with other countries. An in our country no govt. department cares also.

        • @sagar so you mean that other governments would rather have a problem on their hands than secure their borders? Go to France, full of illegal overstaying Asians including Indians. Also, let’s call it the brown privilege. Chinese are subject to the same or similar rules as well and they are one big group too. I am positive over the next few years as tourism drops, people will welcome Indians with Visa on Arrival. Look at how the Middle East policies changed… QR, Oman, UAE. We are getting there. it is not an overnight process.

  2. As SQ likely to get affected by this move, may be Vistara orient their expansion plans for Australia traffic.

  3. I wonder why Australia is signing all of these open sky agreements that where the advantage goes to the other country. They signed one with China so now the Chinese carriers can flood Australia and run QF off routes. And now with India when clearly QF doesn’t serve the market and has no intention to but now Jet Airways can enter the market.

    • @Wonderful Wanda, Aviation is not a one way game. If Qantas does not want to operate to India, does not mean Indian carriers do not want to operate to Australia. Or should Indians be at the mercy of South East Asian carriers through out.

  4. Is this only for Indian airlines or can airlines like SQ and CX also take advantage of this?

    • @Venkatesh for Indian airlines only. For SQ the India-Singapore and for CX the India – Hong Kong bilaterals dictate capacity.

  5. Oh ..Wow Great news…Thanks to Jet Airways for launching new flight from Australia to Mumbai and many more cities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *