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Air India to connect Melbourne with Mumbai

written by Jake Nelson | November 1, 2023

An Air India 787-8 Dreamliner. (Image: Daniel Eledut/Unsplash)

Air India will launch non-stop flights between Melbourne and Mumbai next month.

The service, which complements Air India’s existing daily Melbourne-Delhi route, will initially operate three times per week using 787-8 Dreamliners starting 15 December, with the potential to add capacity based on demand.

Around 433,000 Indian residents flew in and out of Melbourne last financial year, more than any other Australian city. According to Jim Parashos, the airport’s chief of aviation, the terminals have seen record numbers of Indian visitors in recent months.

“Melbourne is home to Australia’s largest Indian population and shares significant cultural ties, which makes it the obvious gateway for travellers from the subcontinent wanting to explore Victoria and beyond,” he said.

“Our data shows that as India’s financial capital, Mumbai is currently Melbourne’s largest international market without non-stop flights, so we expect this service to be very popular in both directions.”


Parashos also highlighted the open-skies agreement between Australia and India, in a possible reference to the ongoing stoush over Qatar Airways being blocked from operating more than 28 flights per week to Australia’s four major airports in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

“Australia and India have an open skies air services agreement which has provided Air India the certainty they need to efficiently announce, put on sale and launch these new flights without the uncertainty associated with bilateral agreements,” he said.

“Open Skies and liberal bilateral agreements provide airlines with the certainty they need to add flights and respond to trends as demand for passenger and cargo increases.”

This is not the first time in recent weeks that Melbourne Airport has called for more open skies agreements, with CEO Lorie Argus saying last month that she wanted to see more competition from international carriers.

“Airports are subject to regular monitoring by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and it makes sense that this arrangement be extended across the broader aviation industry,” said Argus.

“We also believe an open skies approach to bilateral air service agreements will benefit consumers by maximising competition and choice.”

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