India’s aviation industry is seeing major growth as passenger numbers continue to rise and the Australian inbound tourism market is reaping the rewards with data highlighting a 40 per cent year-on-year rise on arrivals.
Helping spark the renewed strength of Indian aviation is several carriers’ large orders of passenger aircraft.
Air India has 250 Airbus aircraft and a further 220 from Boeing on order which is said to be worth around $107 billion. Leading low-cost carrier, IndiGo has 500 Airbus’ on order while Akasa Air – India’s newest airline – also has 150 Boeing 737s on order.
There was a near decade-long gap in direct flights between Australia and India from 2012 to 2021 when Air India recommenced its three-times weekly Sydney-New Delhi route, though numbers have steadily risen since.
Three weeks after Air India’s relaunch to Australia, Qantas chimed in with a non-stop flight between Sydney and New Delhi before Air India introduced a Melbourne-Mumbai route, the first non-stop flight between Australia and the financial powerhouse of India since Qantas ceased its operations over 10 years ago.
The latest player in the market is IndiGo, the biggest budget airline in India which offers several flight options between the two countries. IndiGo operates Airbus A321s on its flights to Australia, a far less comfortable option to that of its competitors which have around five centimetres more room in the ‘seat pitch’ and feature the modern amenities that IndiGo cuts such as in-flight entertainment or power outlets.
In the year to November 2023, 387,000 Indian travellers arrived in Australia, an increase of 40 per cent on the year previous while the 2022-23 financial year saw 435,000 Australians visit India, a major increase on the previous (COVID-impacted) year which was 61,000.
According to 2021 census date, there are roughly 700,000 people born in India that currently reside in Australia who will welcome the increased competition on routes to their homeland.
(Featured image: Two crossed national flags on wooden table. iStock – tudiocasper)