Air India, India’s national airline, is likely to kick start Delhi-Melbourne flights later in the year. The Indian ministry said the airline is waiting for the new Boeing 787 aircraft to be delivered.

India’s flag carrier, Air India is expected to launch flights to Melbourne later this year once the carrier gets hold of new Boeing 787 aircraft. The carrier plans to offer these flights from Delhi.

“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,” an Indian Civil Aviation Ministry official was quoted in news reports.

The official also highlighted that when Air India puts these plans into operation, the airline would become the only carrier offering non-stop flight tickets for India-Australia market.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, who is heading an Australian business delegation to India, met with country’s Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh yesterday. The delegation discussed with him about the anticipated launch of direct flights from Delhi to Melbourne by Air India.

“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 various news portals.

Air India’s proposed service to Australia has received several concessions from the Government of Victoria and New South Wales. The airline expects to operate at a passenger load factor of over 75 per cent on an average round the year on the travel route.

Sources also indicate that the carrier is conducting fresh negotiations with the governments of Victoria and New South Wales as well as the Airport Authority at Sydney and Melbourne to seek more concessional deals and make direct flights to Melbourne cost effective. Moreover, it is learnt that Baillieu has assured AI of full assistance in this matter. Travellers can only hope that the cost-effectiveness translates into cheap flight tickets for them.

As per an estimate, the annual air traffic between India and the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney is around 1, 30,000 passengers each. The total number of passengers travelling between India and Australia has been approximated at 3, 35,000 each year.

Air India is a major Indian carrier that has network that encompasses domestic and regional destinations, as well as international routes that cover Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

AI January Revenue Up 30.4%

There is more good news for Air India loyalists and Indian aviation. The overall revenue in January 2012 escalating by 30.4 percent over the same period previous year indicates that the national carrier has registered a good performance.

Air India’ international revenue for the month of January swelled by 27.2 percent and its domestic revenue went up by 36.6 percent.

A senior airline official told Press Trust of India (PTI) “Our domestic capacity in terms of available seats per kilometre increased 16.3 percent, whereas in the overall network, it remained static. The number of passengers carried increased 11.5 percent on international routes and 18.1 percent on domestic routes thereby helping the passenger load factor to a 5.4 percent increase over the entire network”.

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