AUSTRALIA and India have agreed to open capacity between major airports in the two countries.
In a joint media release, transport minister Michael McCormack and trade minister Steven Ciobo said the liberalised air service arrangements were an important step in in the Australia-India bilateral relationship, providing Australian businesses with the opportunity to access a rapidly growing market.
“The recently settled Australia-India air services arrangements enable Australian airlines to operate unlimited services between Australia and the six major metropolitan airports in India and for Indian airlines to operate unlimited services between India and six airports in Australia,” the joint statement said.
“These air services arrangements provide a foundation for airlines to increase direct flights between Australia and India, in line with the growing scale and profile of the Indian market over the long term.”
Total merchandise trade between India and Australia stood at $20.9bn in 2017, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Exports to India accounted for the lion’s share of the total, worth $15.7m; imports were worth $5.1m in 2017.
The largest merchandise export to India by value was coal, worth $9bn over the year. This was followed by vegetables (fresh, chilled or frozen), exports of which were worth $1.4m.
Turning to imports from India, the most valuable over the period was refined petroleum, at $1.6bn, followed by medicaments, worth $335m.
Over 2017, Australia was India’s ninth-largest import source, accounting for 3% of its total imports. Australia was India’s 22nd largest export destination, accounting for 1.4% of its exports.
The ministers, in their joint statement, said the opportunity for increased air freight and cargo would enable Australian exporters to continue to grow the important market.