Qantas is bullish about growth in India driven by strong economic fundamentals in the market and rise in inbound travel to Australia.

"We are quite ambitious about the future of travel between Australia and India. It is a small part of the network with about 3 per cent of the capacity but obviously economic fundamentals in the market are really compelling for us. So we are going to invest more in the market," Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said in response to a query from businessline.

Last month the Australian airline announced extra services from Sydney to Bengaluru in the winter schedule adding over 12,000 seats in a four month period between December-March. It also thrice weekly between Melbourne and Delhi.

The extra flights to Bengaluru have been made possible as the airline suspended its service to Shanghai in China citing mismatch in capacity and demand.

Wallace said the additional flights to India create a great opportunity for inbound travel to Australia and Qantas is also benefiting from its partnership with IndiGo as it brings in more passenger feed. "We can potentially look at ways and means to expand the relationship with IndiGo. They are a good partner for us...India is an emerging market and we have a lot of confidence in it," he added.

With over 410,000 visitors in the twelve months ending March, Indian tourist arrivals in Australia have surpassed the pre-pandemic level. India was the fifth largest source market for Tourism Australia in March-end climbing two places from seventh position in 2019.

While Air India and Qantas operate non stop flights, around 70 per cent of the traffic between India and Australia travels via hubs including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Singapore Airlines is the biggest carrier on India-Australia routes and has added flights to Melbourne and Perth. Malaysia Airlines too has upped its frequency to Amritsar connecting the Punjabi diaspora in Australia with North India.

Airports in Australia too are keen for more non stop connectivity with India. "I think the opportunity for India is extraordinary. Post Covid-19 pandemic we have seen 330 per cent growth on direct services between Melbourne and India," Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus told a TV channel on the sidelines of CAPA India summit in Delhi on Thursday.

Qantas is also developing a hub in Perth on the west coast of Australia. Perth airport will develop new terminal facilities and a parallel runway as a part of its commercial agreement with Qantas. While the airline already flies to London and Rome, Qantas hopes to connect markets like India and Japan from Perth after receiving narrow body long range Airbus A321XLR aircraft. 

"We are excited about this development. It is strategic for us. The new infrastructure coming online when combined with our new aircraft will enable us to provide seamless experience for our customers," said Qantas group CEO and managing director Vanessa Hudson.