Direct flights between India and Western Australia’s Perth is being explored and discussions are being initiated with at least two Indian carriers – the Tatas and IndiGo.

India has no direct air connectivity to Perth and the present ones are either through Singapore or via Melbourne and Sydney. Data from Indian tour operators also show that visitors generally prefer taking flights to Sydney and then travel to Perth via domestic flights or by road.

Air India, now owned by the Tatas, have direct flights to Sydney and Melbourne.

“We are going to have meetings with a range of companies. The Tatas, who are a major aviation company in India... We are looking forward to sitting down with them and explore the opportunities of direct flights between India and Perth, Western Australia,” Roger Cook, MLA, Deputy Premiere, and the Minister of State Development, Jobs and Trade, Tourism, Commerce and Science, told BusinessLine during an interview. “The other company is IndiGo,” he added.

Cook is leading Western Australia’s largest ever business delegation here.

Airfares for the one stop flight to Perth (via Singapore) start at around ₹66,000 currently, as against other places like Sydney and Melboure which start at around ₹96,000. Perth and Singapore share the same time zone (2 hours 30 minutes ahead of India) with flying time between the two cities being around 5 hours. A direct air connectivity is expected to provide fillip to tourism in the region too.

One of the largest producer of iron-ore, Western Australia is mostly known for extraction and processing of minerals and petroleum products, apart from agricultural production.

Fillip to Tourism

However, in recent years, tourism has grown in importance, with tourists coming in from countries in Europe, including the UK and Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia.

Indiver Rastogi, President and Group Head – Global Business Travel, Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC, said, data available with the company indicated interest in segments like VFR tourism (visiting friends and relatives), business and B-leisure. There is also a growing demand from Adhoc or Special Interest Groups for upcoming sports events or in cricket.

“Western Australia is also on the radar of discerning customers and repeat visitations with the allure of pristine outdoors, vineyards and cuisine,” he said. According to EaseMyTrip, the country’s second largest travel booking portal, there is limited demand for Western Australia from India, but overall Australia continues to be in demand.