T20 World Cup: Delhi Airport emerging as hub for flights to Australia

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Delhi Airport has become the preferred airport for travellers from India visiting countries in the Australasian continent, which includes Australia and neighbouring countries such as New Zealand and Fiji.

The airport has been able to take its share of the passenger traffic on the India-Australasia route from 28 per cent in 2006-07, when the airport was privatised, to 41 per cent at the end of FY19. That's a gain of 47 per cent in the share of passengers during the last 14 years. Interestingly, Delhi is the only airport in India to register a significant increase in passenger share, whereas other major airports such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai posted a dip during the same period.                                                          
India has become Australia’s fastest-growing tourist market with visitor numbers rising by 53 per cent, driven by a surge in arrivals of those visiting family and friends.

Delhi Airport has emerged as the hub for traffic to Australasia. It is the only airport in the SAARC region to have non-stop connectivity with Sydney and Melbourne. This route has immense potential to grow further in future and I am sure that other Indian and foreign carriers would like to operate direct flights from Delhi,” said Videh Kimar Jaipuriar, CEO, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).

India is now ranked seventh in terms of incoming international visitors to Australia, with 350,000 visitors to that country. It occupied the 15th spot in 2006. India is projected to become the fastest-growing source of international tourists over the next two years. Spending by Indians tourists also rose by 68 per cent to $1.8 billion, according to Australia’s latest international visitor survey.

However, a lack of direct flights between India and Australia threatens to curb growth. According to a survey by Tourism Australia, 90 per cent of Indian visitors fly to Australia via South-East Asia on carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.

“Added time and cost to travel is a disincentive for potential visitors,” Australian tourism minister Simon Birmingham recently said.

Air India’s direct flight from Sydney to Delhi takes about twelve-and-a-half hours, while Qantas’ service via Hong Kong takes more than 18 hours.

Tourism Australia is trying to attract Indian travellers to the country for next year’s T20 cricket world cup to be held there. Next year, Australia will host both women’s and men’s world cup T20 events. While the women’s event will be held between February and March, the men’s tournament will be held in October and November.

Australia expects to receive around 40,000 Indian cricket fans for the tournament. While tourist arrivals from China (its largest source market) are slowing, visitor numbers from India to Australia continue to grow in double digits.

Tourism Australia Chairman Bob East said the mega cricket event gives them an opportunity to drive demand, strengthen relationship with trade partners and introduce new products. “India is one of the most significant markets for us and we are looking for sustained growth,” he said.

Delhi ranked 12 in the list of world’s top 20 busiest airports, surging past China's Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Frankfurt Airport (Germany), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (Texas, US), Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport (Turkey), Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (South Korea), Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (Indonesia), Singapore Changi Airport (Singapore) and Denver International Airport (Colorado, US), as per a world traffic report released by the Airports Council International (ACI).

In fact, Delhi’s IGI airport has witnessed a 10.2 per cent surge in the passengers of domestic and international flyers in 2018 when compared to 2017.

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