Ravi Bodade, Air India manager in Sydney, says the Indian community in Australia has responded impressively to Air India’s entry into Australia. According to Bodade, the initial hiccups the airline encountered in its early days last year are well behind it and Air India is poised for strong growth backed by the local Indian community filling up the flights to and from India. Bodade says that the growing numbers of migrants from India, including students and tourists and family members shuttling between the two countries, means that Air India will soon be increasing the frequency of flights on this route. Air India commenced flights to Australia last September in a what was the first commercial flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Australia. The Indian community down under has welcomed Air India after its 16-year absence in Australia.However, Air India’s reentry into the Australian market had its share of controversies and problems, but Bodade is confident that they were birthing issues and the market realities will ensure the long-terms success of Air India’s return to Australia. Bodade says that Air India today has a record of being on time with 80% of the flights to Australia. He says that besides its efficiency, the competitive services and rates on offer, tailored to meet the needs of Indians,make AI compelling. Although Air India now flies only to Delhi, the accommodation and connecting flights on offer have been well received by local travellers as well as people in India travelling to Australia. The aviation industry in India witnessed a huge turnaround in 2013, say observers. Theindustry reportedly showed signs of emerging from a prolonged crisis as air traffic started to grow significantly. Major policy changes in relation to foreign direct investment have also started delivering results, say industry observers. Air India’s plans for a recovery seemed to run into troubles when its entire newly-acquired fleet of Dreamliners were grounded for months due to technical glitches. Air India is expecting the Dreamliner to power its resurgence through, among other factors, cost reductions. Despite the challenges Air India’s revenues showed an improving trend in 2013 mostly due to rising passenger traffic and some reductions in costs.
Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Newspaper in Sydney)