Friday, February 24, 2012

Air India Proposes to Launch Delhi- Melbourne Operations

India’s flag carrier, Air India has made public its intention of launching direct Delhi-Melbourne flights. The airline will use the Boeing 787 aircraft on the route once they are delivered to the carrier in mid-2012.

Air India has proposed to launch non-stop Delhi-Melbourne services in coming few months.

India’s flag carrier hopes to launch direct flights to Melbourne once it receives Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

“Air India has proposed to launch direct services to Australia from Delhi commencing from about the third quarter of 2012-13, using the Boeing 787 aircraft, which are expected to be inducted in May this year,” various websites quoted an Indian Civil Aviation Ministry official as saying.

Once this proposed launch materialises, Air India would become the only airline providing non-stop flights for India-Australia market, highlighted the ministry official.

It has been learnt that Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, who is leading an Australian business entourage to India, had a meeting with Ajit Singh, India’s Civil Aviation Minister, yesterday. The likely launch of Air India’s flights to Melbourne from Delhi has been discussed in the meeting.

“With sizable Indian population residing in Melbourne, a Delhi-Melbourne direct Air India flight would be in their larger interest and also in the business interest of the two countries,” Baillieu said during the meeting, as reported by news websites.

Air India hopes that it will run at more than 75 per cent passenger load factor on an average round the year. The airline’s intended service to Australia has received many concessional deals from the Government of Victoria and New South Wales.

The state-owned carrier is pushing for more concessions as it conducts fresh negotiations with the governments of Victoria and New South Wales. The airline is even seeking concessions from the Airport Authority at Sydney and Melbourne. Furthermore, it is learnt that Ted Baillieu has assured the carrier of its full backing on the issue. AI said that the concessions are sought to make flights to the region cost-effective. It surely would interest the air ticket buyers if Air India decides to convert this cost-effectiveness into cheap flight tickets for them!

Industry estimates put the annual traffic between India and Australia at somewhere around 3, 35,000 passengers. Melbourne and Sydney hold the most significant portions of that traffic. As per an estimate, air traffic between India and these two Australian cities is around 1, 30,000 passengers each. A good number of passengers will be waiting for AI to launch its direct services on the travel route and many of them would also be hoping to grab cheap flight tickets on the world’s most fuel efficient aircraft!

AI January Revenue Up

In what may be a silver lining among the dark clouds of Indian aviation market, Air India posted fairly decent numbers in January 2012 with the overall revenue escalating by 30.4 percent over the same period last year.

Air India’ international revenue in January went up by 27.2 percent and its domestic revenue spiralled up by 36.6 percent.


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