India's Civil Aviation Ministry stated (21-Feb-2012) Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has met with an Australian delegation led by Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu to discuss, among other things, the proposed launch of direct air services by Air India from New Delhi to Melbourne. Services will likely commence in 3QFY2012/13. Mr Ballieu also advised there is "huge scope for Air India to take flights to Europe via Melbourne, which can also be exploited in future". Air India is holding fresh negotiations with the state governments of Victoria and New South Wales as well as the airport authority at Sydney and Melbourne to seek further concessions to make direct Air India flights cost effective. It is estimated the traffic between India and Melbourne and Sydney is equal and ranges between 125,000 to 130,000 each p/a. The total size of the traffic moving between India and Australia has been estimated at around 335,000 passengers p/a in each direction. [more - original PR]
India's Civil Aviation Ministry: "Air India has proposed to launch direct services to Australia from Delhi commencing from about the third quarter of 2012-13, using the B787 aircraft which are expected to be inducted in May this year. When these services are in place, Air India would be the only carrier serving the India-Australia market non-stop. The airline expects that the non-stop services to Australia would be a cash positive venture after getting various concessions from the Government of Victoria and New South Wales, and will operate at over 75 per cent passenger load factor on an average round the year." Source: Company Statement, 21-Feb-2012.