Destination NSW (DNSW), the tourism promotion agency of New South Wales (NSW), a state in southeastern Australia, is engaged in discussions with multiple airlines, including Qantas, Air India, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Thai Airways, Scoot, and others, to encourage the introduction of new direct flights or additional flights between Sydney, the capital city of NSW, and various cities in India.
Samar Chokshi, the Country Manager-India for DNSW, informed The Hindu that talks are currently underway with Qantas, and there are possibilities of an additional Bengaluru-Sydney flight being added by October. Furthermore, DNSW is exploring the potential for Air India to introduce a direct flight between Bengaluru and Sydney.
In addition, DNSW is conducting similar discussions with Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Thai Airways, Scoot, and several other airlines with the aim of enhancing air connectivity between Indian cities and Sydney.
Presently, there are 11 weekly direct/non-stop flights connecting India and Sydney. Among these, Air India operates seven flights between Delhi and Sydney, while Qantas operates four flights between Bengaluru and Sydney.
According to Chokshi, Qantas is currently experiencing a high load factor of around 90% on the Bengaluru-Sydney route. As a result, the airline is considering adding an extra flight in the next few months to increase the frequency of flights.
Chokshi emphasised that India holds significant importance as the fastest-growing and fourth-largest market for tourist arrivals in NSW, following New Zealand, the U.S., and the U.K.
Between March 2022 and February 2023, NSW recorded 140,000 leisure tourist arrivals. Mr. Chokshi expressed optimism that if all goes well, India may surpass the U.K. and become the third-largest contributor to NSW’s tourism sector.
Chokshi also highlighted the positive outlook, noting the improving direct air connectivity between India and Sydney, as well as the simplified Australian visa processing for tourists, businessmen, and students.
The visa application process has been streamlined and made online, eliminating the need for physical documentation or biometrics data. This simplified process takes only 45 minutes, which has been a game-changer in terms of attracting tourists to NSW.