Navigating the skyways: Your guide to Australia-India flights this holiday season

By Maria Irene
Photo: Canva

As the holiday season approaches and Diwali lights begin to twinkle, many Australians are contemplating a trip to India. But soaring through the skies from the Land Down Under to the subcontinent isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Amidst debates over the competitiveness of Australia’s aviation market and concerns about global aviation challenges, Palki Travel, one of the leading travel agents managing flights between Australia and India, offers some insights that could serve as your guiding star.

First off, if you’re looking for the best airlines to choose from, Palki Travel suggests Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, and Air India. These airlines offer a balance between cost and comfort, particularly important in a market where the average economy ticket will set you back around $1,800-$1,900. “Our main traffic is usually between Melbourne and Sydney to Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai,” adds Palki Travel, emphasising the popularity of these routes.

While the term ‘stopover’ often invokes images of tedious airport waits, Palki Travel suggests that Vietnam, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur are the ideal stopover destinations for an Aussie-India flight. They not only break the long journey but also offer some quick yet fulfilling travel experiences.

Luxury seekers, listen up! The price for Business Class tickets this holiday season ranges from approximately $5,000 to $7,000, offering amenities that might just make the steep cost worthwhile. Budget travellers need not fret either. “Yes, we do handle budget airlines as well,” assures Palki Travel.

Now, let’s zoom out a bit and look at the broader challenges that the aviation industry, and by extension, passengers, are facing in Australia. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese claims that Australia has the “world’s most competitive aviation market.” However, experts like Dr. Tony Webber, an independent aviation economist, argue that only routes to the US and China genuinely offer competitive prices and options.

Further complicating the picture is the current international seat capacity on flights leaving Australia, which remains 12% below 2019 levels. This poses a significant concern, given that increased demand for routes to traditional holiday destinations like India isn’t met with an equivalent increase in seat availability. Adding to the chaos, recent decisions regarding Qatar Airways have sparked a Senate inquiry into alleged undue government influence on airfares and competition.

Behind the scenes, airlines are grappling with global issues like delays in Airbus and Boeing deliveries and a global pilot shortage. Despite these headwinds, there are glimpses of change on the horizon. Major airlines like Cathay Pacific and Emirates are planning to increase flight frequencies and seat capacities by the end of 2023.

The complexities of flying from Australia to international destinations, especially to a popular and culturally rich country like India, are numerous. But understanding these intricacies can equip travellers to make more informed choices. Whether you’re flying to celebrate Diwali or simply to explore India’s diverse landscapes and heritage, keeping these insights from Palki Travel and the larger aviation landscape in mind could help you navigate the sometimes turbulent but always fascinating world of international travel.

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