May 27, 2008

High Level Infrastructure and Aviation Delegation to India

High Level Infrastructure and Aviation Delegation to India

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

27 May 2008

Yesterday at a meeting with India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, Hon Shri Praful Patel, we discussed the possibility of a high-level aviation and infrastructure delegation to India either later this year or early in 2009.

Minister Patel and I discussed a range of issues important to both countries, including air services; opportunities for Australian companies to contribute to aviation and airport infrastructure development in India; international efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions; and cooperation in the areas of transport security and aviation safety.

There are enormous opportunities for Australian companies to assist India as it moves to invest around A$500 billion in infrastructure development over the next five years.

In particular, as one of the world’s fastest developing economies India’s demand for domestic and international aviation services is booming, with hundreds of new airports likely to be built in coming years.

A high level government and business delegation to India would bring a greater focus on the practical ways we could assist in developing India’s aviation infrastructure.

Between March 2007 and March 2008, more than half a million passengers travelled between Australia and India – and the market is growing rapidly.

According to the Australian Forecasting Committee, Indian visitor numbers to Australia is expected to more than triple by 2016.

At present, no Indian airlines fly direct to Australia, although this may change once Air India and Indian Airlines have completed their merger – or other Indian carriers give further consideration to the Australia/India market.

Jet Airways currently markets seats on Qantas services operating between Singapore and main Australian gateway airports. Air India currently code shares on several Malaysia Airlines’ services operating between Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne.

Qantas operates three weekly services between Sydney and Mumbai and code shares on services operated by Indian carrier, Jet Airways, between Singapore/Delhi and Singapore/Mumbai.

The majority of traffic between Australia and India currently travels on third country airlines via intermediate hubs such as Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.