Australian Federal Trade Minister, Senator Simon Birmingham, has “woken up” Australia-India trade talks, by calling on airlines, such as Qantas and Air India to have direct flights to India. Speaking recent at a World Aviation Conference in Adelaide recently, he says “Direct flights would mark the foundation of a new era of Australia India business and trade relations” “A lack of direct flights between India and Australia threatens to curb growth in one of Australia’s largest tourism markets”. “One million Indian tourists are expected to visit Australia annually by 2030”. “India is the fastest-growing, with tourist numbers increasing by 15 per cent in the past year to 342,694 people.
At the moment, in 2019, Air India, is the only direct flight provider, with eight direct flights to Delhi per week. Qantas ceased its Sydney to Mumbai direct flights back a few years ago. A Qantas spokesperson says “Qantas continually reviews its network “but we do not currently have plans to operate direct services to India”. Federal Trade Minister Birmingham is now encouraging Qantas, Air India and other airlines to provide direct air services to India and Australia, as “tourism will drive and lead new Australia-India relations in business, trade and investment”. “More direct flights would enable Indian travellers, in both business and leisure markets, to access Australia with greater ease and makes us more competitive.” “Air travel between Australia and India is growing by 60,000 seats per annum”. “That is the equivalent to around an extra 250 direct flights per year, or five extra flights per week being added each and every year”.