The new agreement levels the playing field for each other’s airlines for access to airports in both countries.
Australia and India have signed up for an open capacity agreement for air services between the two countries, significantly expanding the potential for mutual travel.
The deal will allow Australian airlines to operate unlimited services between their own country and the six major metropolitan airports in India, namely Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Indian carriers, meanwhile, will get unlimited access for flights to six hubs in Australia – Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and one more airport yet to be named.
An earlier agreement limited capacity to 6,500 seats per week – a restriction that will now be lifted, allowing additional carriers, particularly those from India, to enter the market.
The national carrier Air India is currently the dominant carrier to Australia, as Qantas is to India, but the new deal opens the doors to other airlines to compete more fairly.
Other airlines with a significant presence on routes between the countries via their home bases are not actually from either country – AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.