Air India will fly direct between Mumbai and Melbourne three times per week from December, adding another 40,000 seats into Victoria each year.
It’s been more than four decades since Mumbai has been directly connected to Australia by air. Mumbai has a population of over 21 million.
The new route is supported by the state government and Melbourne Airport and is expected to have a $55 million economic impact each year.
India has been a major growth market for Australia since pandemic travel restrictions eased.
“In recent months Melbourne Airport has seen record numbers of Indian visitors travelling through the terminals,” said Melbourne Airport CEO, Lorie Argus.
Victoria’s minister for jobs and industry, Natalie Hutchins, said the government was excited by the possibilities of the direct route, from what is expected to be the world’s third largest economy by 2030.
“This new route will boost tourism, create local jobs and open more pathways for Victorian businesses to reach one of the world’s fastest growing economies,” said Hutchins.
Meanwhile, Chinese carrier Sichuan Airlines is also increasing its flights into Melbourne over the next 11 months.
Flights between Chengdu, which has an urban population above 15 million, and Melbourne will increase to daily by September 2024, adding an additional four flights a week amounting to around 63,000 seats each year. The increase in frequency for the route is worth an anticipated $125 million for Melbourne.
“Having more flights coming in from Victoria’s largest trading partner will deliver significant economic benefits to the state and open up opportunities for businesses, tourism, students and jobs,” said Hutchins
With the MCG being a particular pull for Indian business events visitors and large international incentive movements from China restarting, these flights will make Melbourne a more attractive business events destination for both countries.