On Wednesday, the first direct flight between Australia and southern India took off. The NSW government funded the new route in an effort to encourage travel to the nation’s fifth-largest trade partner.
The state government’s $60 million Aviation Attraction Fund provided money for the new Qantas service between Sydney and Bengaluru. Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, an A330 flight will depart from Sydney for Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport.
With 175,000 tourists spending an estimated $444 million in 2019, India was the country with NSW’s fastest expanding market. The third-largest source of tourists to the state in July came from India, and the NSW government anticipates that figure to rise in the upcoming months owing to pent-up demand.
Up until June 30, 2023, the service plans to supply more than 44,000 incoming foreign seats to Sydney, supporting more than 100 jobs and generating more than $19 million, according to Treasurer Matt Kean. Bengaluru is home to many Australian businesses, and the new route reduces the current three-hour travel time between the two cities.
The state’s goal is to make New South Wales the leading tourist economy in the Asia Pacific, according to tourism minister Ben Franklin. “Our airports are the gateway to our state, so supporting the return of airlines to them through the Aviation Attraction Fund is key to achieving our goal,” he said.
With the addition of the new route, Qantas is now the only airline providing direct service between the two major cities in Australia and the south and north of India.
According to Qantas domestic and international head Andrew David, Bengaluru’s inclusion on the route map strengthens its relations with India and comes after the introduction of direct flights from Australia to Delhi last year, which were similarly well-received.
In an aim to create more than 1000 jobs and strengthen economic ties between NSW, Japan, and Singapore, the Aviation Attraction Fund established comparable collaborations with Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines in August.
Over 1.5 million passengers travelled from India to Australia in 2019. Only a small amount of the traffic was continuous, and more than 90% of it was routed through a hub. In 2019, Singapore Airlines carried almost 30% of travellers between the two nations. According to an aviation source, Malaysia Airlines and Air India respectively placed second and third in terms of passenger volume.
This occurs when border crossings between India and Australia are being reopened, and Covid-19 restrictions are being relaxed.
The route has shown high demand since the launch of the new service earlier this year, with both the outward and inward initial flights selling out in all cabins, it said in a statement. According to the airline, it’s easy non-stop travel to Sydney for those residing in Bengaluru and southern India who want to take a dream vacation or visit friends and family.
Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), described the launch of the brand-new Qantas Bengaluru-Sydney route as a “historic” event for BLR Airport. Given that it is the first-ever non-stop service from South and Central India to Australia, he stated, “this is a historic occasion.”
The QF68 will substantially improve the connection between India and New South Wales and reduce the existing quickest travel time between the two cities by three hours. The direct flight’s base ticket is $1,320 roundtrip.
Lamb Chettinad in Business Class and paneer makhani, cumin seed pilaff, and green peas and beans masala in Economy are just a few of the new Indian-inspired food items that Qantas has introduced to its in-flight menu on the new Bengaluru services to commemorate the route, the airline said.
Millions of passengers were publicly thanked for their patience as the airline worked to recover from Covid-19 and offered their sincere apologies for recent operational difficulties earlier in August.
According to Nishant Kashikar, country manager of Tourism Australia, “whilst the arrivals, post the reopening of the Australian borders, have been driven by the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) segment, we are gradually seeing the return of the holiday and MICE (meetings, conferences, exhibitions) segment. The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, coinciding with the Diwali and wedding season, offers a tremendous opportunity to further drive visitation into Australia,”
He added that from April to June, there were 87,000 tourists from India visiting Australia, which is 83% of 2019 levels. India was Australia’s second-largest inbound market after New Zealand.