Competition heats up on India-Australia route as Qantas flies to Bengaluru


Singapore Airlines is the dominant on the fast growing India-Australia market, but it is now bracing up for a fresh challenge.

On Wednesday, launched its four-weekly flights between Sydney and Bengaluru — the first non-stop service between Australia and South India.

The new service, which comes ahead of the T20 world cup in Australia, will offer quicker travel options for flyers from Bengaluru and will help gain market share.

Domestic and International Chief Executive Officer Andrew David said the flights will boost tourism and economic relations and open opportunities between Australia and India.

“The addition of Bengaluru to our route map deepens our ties with India and follows the launch of direct services from Australia to Delhi last year, which have also proven popular. Qantas is now the only offering direct flights between Australia’s two largest cities and the north and south of India,” he said.

Singapore Airlines did not comment specifically on the Australian market. However, the said it continues to see strong demand to and from India across many key points in its network. “To meet this robust demand, we are restoring our India connectivity to pre-pandemic levels in northern winters schedule 2022. There is demand from both the leisure and business travel markets for travel to and from India,” Singapore Airlines said.

Air India, which operates daily flights from Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne, did not respond to an email query.

In calendar year 2019, over 1.5 million people flew between India and Australia. Non-stop traffic was a small portion and over 90 per cent of the traffic flew via a hub.

Singapore Airlines carried around 30 per cent of passengers between the two countries in 2019. Malaysia Airlines and Air India came second and third in passenger traffic, respectively, an aviation source said.

This comes as traffic between India and Australia is growing with reopening of borders and easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

“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 tremendous opportunity to further drive visitation into Australia,” said Nishant Kashikar, country manager of Tourism Australia.

“There were 87,000 visitors from India to Australia between April and June, representing 83 per cent of 2019 levels,” he added. India was the second biggest inbound market for Australia after New Zealand.

“The new flights will reduce travel time over existing options and will make access to Australia and points beyond, including New Zealand and the Pacific Islands easy, particularly for leisure travellers, corporates, sports enthusiasts and students who go there for higher studies,” Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) Chief Strategy and Development Officer Satyaki Raghunath said.

“Australia is a key market for Singapore Airlines and we are seeing strong demand from India for all the points we serve there and in other parts of the world. To meet this robust demand we are restoring our India connectivity to pre-pandemic levels from northern winter 2022,” Singapore Airlines said in a statement.

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