Australian customers want more direct services to India, says Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus

This high demand is attributed to international Indian student population, which also brings in their families and relatives, as well as segments in IT and business.

Melbourne, home to the largest Indian diaspora population in Australia, has seen a rapid increase in demand for direct flights to India. Over the past year, direct flights between Melbourne and India have increased by over 300 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Image: Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus (Source: AAA Board)

In an interview with Indian Express, Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus emphasised the significance of the Indian market for the airport, highlighting its vast potential for direct air connectivity.

“India is critical for us. It is at the top of the list in terms of importance because it is our fastest-growing long-haul market,” Argus stated.

“Even with the growth in direct connectivity to India, 70 per cent of the traffic between India and Australia still goes through connecting hubs like Singapore, and those hubs have really not suffered. This shows us that the demand is underserviced.”

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When asked about the importance of direct flights versus connecting through hubs, Argus emphasised that point-to-point traffic is crucial for Melbourne Airport.

“we want to serve what our customers want. And our customers are telling us that they want more direct services.”

Image: Qantas and Indigo (Source: website)

Regarding Air India and IndiGo, Argus confirmed ongoing discussions to increase flights.

“IndiGo just announced their codeshare partnership with Qantas, which shows that they see the opportunity in Australia and I think most certainly we will see IndiGo flying to Australia with those new aircraft.”

Additionally, Argus highlighted Melbourne Airport’s status as the largest air cargo hub in Australia with the first quarter of this year reporting 40 per cent of all cargo going through Melbourne.

On the expansion of Air India’s services, Argus expressed a desire to see the Melbourne-Mumbai service increase from thrice weekly to daily.

“We would love to explore the opportunity of connecting with more Indian cities.”

Argus also confirmed discussions with Air India about establishing direct flights between Melbourne and Bengaluru.

Argus said that Melbourne Airport has grown direct services to India in the last 12 months by 330 per cent, and all those flights are going full. She attributed the high demand to Melbourne’s significant international Indian student population, which also brings in their families and relatives, as well as high-demand segments in IT and business.

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