The Ministers said the discussions were positive, agreeing there would be benefits for both Western Australia and India if a direct service was established. The Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, Pradeep Kharola was also present in the meeting.
India is already a fast growing market for Western Australia with the number of visitors increasing by 38 per cent from the year ending December 2015 to the same period in 2017. The Western Australia Government has recently committed funds to market the State to Indian consumers for the first time and has appointed a dedicated marketing representative based in Mumbai.
Air India has agreed to explore the business case for the route as Jayant Sinha said that “India and Australia share strong trade, investment, sporting and education ties. Direct connectivity between India and Australia has the potential to deepen these relationships.”
He said that “India has a very open air service agreement with Australia. It encourages both Indian and Australian airlines to consider making use of the liberal arrangements to mount more flights between the two countries.” He added that “many Indian carries are now permitted to fly on international routes and we hope to see many new direct flights and increased frequency between the two countries.”
After the meeting, Paul Papalia said that “today’s meeting was extremely productive and significantly progressed our efforts towards establishing direct flights between India and Perth.” He said that “the Western Australian Government is serious about growing the number of visitors travelling to Western Australia from India, which is why we have committed marketing funds for the first time and appointed a market representative to work with travel trade and Tourism Australia to promote the State.”
He added that “our extraordinary State has much to offer Indian travellers, whether they’re visiting for business, education or leisure.” He said that “Perth boasts the best hotels in Australia, with more than 3,000 new rooms opening in the past few years. It is also the perfect launching pad to visit our spectacular regions.”