Jet Airways recommencing Operations Soon

Jet Airways recently announced that they have started the process of hiring pilots for Airbus’ A320 aircraft, Boeing’s 737NG and 737Max planes as the airline is planning to resume its commercial operations in September. This comes after Jet Airways’ commercial operations were suspended on April 17, 2019, due to financial distress.

“Good things come to those that wait – Jet Airways will be flying again soon! Inviting pilots who are current and type-rated on the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737NG or MAX aircraft, to apply to join us in creating history as we prepare to relaunch India’s classiest airline,” the airline wrote on its Twitter platform.

Notably, the ailing airline started the process for hiring pilots for Airbus’ A320 aircraft as well as Boeing’s 737NG and 737Max planes. The airline, which reportedly received air operator certificate from aviation regulator DGCA on May 20, is yet to place an order for aircraft with either European plane-maker Airbus or American aerospace company Boeing, according to news agency PTI report.

Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for Indian maestro Zubin Mehta

Musical Maestro Zubin Mehta was recently awarded the Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), in recognition of his contributions to the Australia-India bilateral ties and humanity at large through his philanthropy and music.

The award was presented to India born Mehta onstage by the Governor General of Australia, General David Hurley at the end of his performance by the Australian World Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, amidst rapturous applause.

With a career spanning more than five decades, Mehta is one of the world’s most celebrated and respected conductors. His career highlights, including Artistic Director of a number of the worlds most famous and eminent orchestras, are matched by his tireless philanthropic work, particularly in the field of educating children in western classical music.

In the gazetted announcement, the Governor General’s Office said “Maestro Zubin Mehta is thoroughly worthy of formal national recognition as an Honorary Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC).”

Australian World Orchestra (AWO) is Australia’s true national orchestra, and is firmly established as an Australian global representative for classical music. The AWO brings together Australia’s finest classical musicians, from the world’s greatest orchestras and ensembles, to create a uniquely electrifying musical experience. Back in 2018 AWO toured India and participated in three concerts with world famous Zubin Mehta as the conductor.

T20 world Cup Cricket

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be held from 16 October - 13 November 2022. Seven world-class venues will host 45 matches across Australia.

The opening weekend of the Super 12 will also feature two of world cricket’s biggest rivals going head-to-head, with India taking on Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday 23 October. Two more fierce rivals, Australia and England, meet at the same venue on Friday 28 October. It’s expected the two key matches will draw large number of visitors from other parts of Australia and overseas to rock the city on the Yarra.

Like the women’s event in 2020, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 Final will be hosted under lights at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 13 November 2022. The semi-finals will be hosted at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Adelaide Oval on 9 and 10 November, respectively.

Cheetahs are back in India

After almost seventy years from the extinction of the last of these spotted big cats, eight Southeast African cheetahs from Namibia were recently released in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park as part of the program to reintroduce the feline in India to revitalise and diversify India’s wildlife and its habitat

Officials say the project is the world’s first intercontinental relocation of cheetahs, the planet’s fastest land animal. The five females and three males were moved from a game park in Namibia on board a chartered Boeing 747 dubbed “Cat Plane” for an 11-hour flight.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over the release function

Each of the animals, aged between two and five and a half, was fitted with a satellite collar to monitor their movements. They will initially be kept in a quarantine enclosure for about a month before being released in the open forest areas of the park.

Ministry of Tourism, Government of India proposes National Tourism Board

Recently Arvind Singh, secretary Ministry of Tourism, India has announced that a National Tourism Board will be established soon to manage all overseas marketing and promotions while the National Tourism Policy currently going through the phase of consultation with key stakeholders.

 

The new Board, to be chaired by the union Minister of Tourism will review the implementation of the tourism related policies. To be managed by a CEO, the Board with coordinate promotional activities with overseas missions.

Air India announces transformation plan

Air India unveiled its comprehensive transformation plan, to establish itself, once again, as a world-class global airline with an Indian heart – the absolute best in class in customer service, in technology, in product, in reliability and in hospitality.

The plan is fittingly titled “Vihaan.AI”, which in Sanskrit signifies the dawn of a new era, with identified objectives for Air India over the next 5 years. As part of Vihaan.AI, Air India has put into place a detailed roadmap with clear milestones focusing on dramatically growing both its network and fleet, developing a completely revamped customer proposition, improving reliability and on-time performance, and taking a leadership position in technology, sustainability, and innovation, while aggressively investing behind the best industry talent. Over the next 5 years, Air India will strive to increase its market share to at least 30% in the domestic market while significantly growing the international routes from the present market share.

The plan is aimed at putting Air India on a path to sustained growth, profitability and market leadership. The Airline’s CEO, Mr. Campbell Wilson along with senior management members who are together driving this transformation, unveiled the Vihaan.AI plan with the entire organization through Workplace, its virtual communication and engagement platform. Over the coming days and weeks, the management team will engage employees across regions, departments, and locations through a series of physical and hybrid sessions. Vihaan.AI has been developed after extensive feedback from Air India employees on their aspirations and hopes for the airline’s growth. Vihaan.AI focuses on five key pillars, exceptional customer experience, robust operations, industry-best talent, industry leadership, and commercial efficiency and profitability. While the immediate focus of the airline remains on fixing the basics and readying itself for growth (Taxiing Phase), the more medium-to-long term focus will be on building for excellence and establishing scale to become a global industry leader (Take Off & Climb phases). 90 years ago, in exactly a month from today, a young JRD Tata piloted the first flight of the airline that would become Air India. Since then, Air India and its employees have persevered through many challenges before its homecoming back to the Tata group.

Vihaan. AI is the roadmap to restoring Air India on the global map, making it the world class, digital, Indian airline it is meant to be.

Commenting on Vihaan.AI, Mr. Campbell Wilson, MD, and CEO, Air India said, “This is the beginning of a historic transformation for Air India, and the dawn of a new era. We are laying the foundation for a brave new Air India, with a renewed sense of purpose and incredible momentum. Vihaan.AI is our transformation plan to make Air India the world class airline it once was, and that it deserves to be again. We are absolutely focused on being recognized as a world-class airline serving global customers, with a proudly Indian heart.” “The transformation has already started – a slew of initiatives in areas like refurbishing cabins, serviceable seats, in-flight entertainment system are already underway. We are also adopting proactive maintenance and refining flight schedules to enhance on-time performance. Our fleet expansion will involve a combination of both narrow-bodied and wide-bodied aircrafts to cater to varied network needs. The excitement and shared commitment to drive Vihaan.ai is palpable across the organisation and stakeholders will recognise the changes as the new face of Air India emerges,” added Mr. Wilson.

Women Leadership in Australia India Business Council (AIBC)

AITTC MOU partner organization AIBC will now be led by former NSW Leader of the Opposition, Jodi McKay and Ravneet Pawha, Vice President (Global Alliances) and CEO (South Asia) at Deakin University.

Their election as National Chair and National Vice Chair of the Australia India Business Council Ltd (AIBC) comes at a momentous time in the history of Australia-India relations, with the two countries agreeing on an interim free trade agreement and negotiations underway for an Australia India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

Ms McKay brings with her a wealth of experience as a former Australian politician who was the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of New South Wales from June 2019 until May 2021. Also, she has previously served as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing Strathfield for the Labor Party from 2015 to 2021.

Ms McKay said, “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world, and Australia has been positioning itself to realise the mutual benefits of growing trade ties.

However, the relationship between Australia and India is not solely a government responsibility – business must be prepared to step up and it is AIBC’s role to support and facilitate opportunities.

Ravneet and I lead the AIBC at a crucial time in the bilateral relationship. We are excited about the opportunities for Australia and the role of AIBC as the voice for business and an advocate for strengthening economic, social and cultural ties.

The history of AIBC and the India Australia story are underpinned by business to business and people to people links. AIBC must be the voice for business and trade, while harnessing the tremendous potential of the diaspora in this critical relationship.”

Ms Pawha brings with her a rich experience of over three decades as an entrepreneur and leader in the international education, research, training, and upskilling sector, she has been instrumental in establishing various strategic partnerships between India and Australia. She set up the Deakin University office in 1994, the first-ever international ‘University office’ in India of any foreign education provider.

India is Australia’s seventh-largest trading partner and fifth-largest export market, and the signing of the historic India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement has given significant momentum to the deepening of the bilateral relationship.”

Ms McKay and Ms Pahwa from Jim Varghese and Sanushka Seomangal respectively.

Jodi and Ravneet will be supported in the AIBC national leadership team by Associate Chair Irfan Malik (CEO and Managing Director, Innovation Global) and Associate Vice Chair Ashok Mysore (Vice President Delivery and Operation, Infosys).

Australia India International Business Summit

While commemorating India’s 75th Independence anniversary, Australia India Business Council (AIBC) in collaboration with various government departments and industry bodies organised in Sydney a three-day International Business Summit for stronger people and business bilateral engagement, spreading across several key industries and sectors.

Titled as “Australia India International Business Summit (AIIBS)” – it was said to be the biggest Australia-India B2B event in the Southern Hemisphere. Held at the Four Seasons Hotel from 23 to 25 August the event emphasized the special significance of the current trade relationship, the recent signing of the bilateral Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) bearing testimony to it.

Key industry sectors covered were Education, Smart Skills & Edu-Tech, Tourism & Hospitality, Defense, Aerospace & Cyber Security, Sports & Entertainment and Indigenous & First Nation’s Business Connect. The event also had a showcase of many start-ups and businesses from both Australia and India for businesses to connect and build strong business pathways.

The highlight of the event was the keynote address by Senator Penny Wong, Foreign Minister of Australia at the gala dinner on the 24th evening.

“Our relationship is built on many things, but fundamentally, it is built on shared interests. And it is why we think of our relationship as one of Dosti – our friendship. So together, there is just so much that our two nations can achieve, and your work is central to that. Our partnership extends well beyond the bilateral because we share a region and whichever region that is being reshaped. Our relationship is profoundly important. It is profoundly important that countries with shared interests work together” said Senator Wong.

Over 2000 delegates attended the summit during the 3 days.

Nonstop Flights between Sydney and Bengaluru

Commencing 14 September Qantas launched a new route from Sydney to Bengaluru, establishing the first direct connection between Australia and Southern India by any airline.QF67 cuts nearly three hours off the current fastest travel time between the two cities and significantly boost connectivity between India and New South Wales in time for the upcoming Diwali and Christmas holidays.

Since the announcement of the new service earlier this year, the route has seen strong demand, with both the outbound and inbound inaugural flights sold out in all cabins.

Widely regarded as India’s Silicon Valley, many Australian and global financial technology organisations have established major operations in Bengaluru. The new flights will offer corporate and leisure travelers a non-stop flight to the city, with connections to other destinations beyond Bengaluru.

It will also provide new tourism opportunities for Sydney and New South Wales, with a direct gateway for India based visitors.

Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said the flights will boost tourism and economic relations and open opportunities between Australia and India.

“The addition of Bengaluru to our route map deepens our ties with India and follows the launch of direct services from Australia to Delhi last year which have also proven popular. Qantas is now the only airline offering direct flights between Australia’s two largest cities and the north and south of India.”

NSW Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said this new direct flight route solidifies Sydney’s standing as a global city.

“This partnership between Qantas and the NSW Government, through the Aviation Attraction Fund, opens up a new direct route between India and NSW, as well as fantastic opportunities for the NSW visitor economy,” Mr Franklin said.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said the flights would boost Sydney Airport’s connectivity.

The trade agreement between Australia and India will further strengthen the economic links, driving travel demand between Australia and India’s population of more than one billion people.

Qantas has recently launched the first phase of its codeshare partnership with IndiGo, India’s largest domestic carrier. There are currently 11 destinations available for connection on IndiGo from Bengaluru, including Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata and Chennai. The codeshare will continue to roll out over coming months, broadening access for Qantas customers travelling throughout India.

To celebrate the route, Qantas has added Indian inspired menu items to its inflight menu on the new Bengaluru services, such as lamb chettinad in Business and paneer makhani, cumin seed pilaf, green peas and beans masala in Economy.

Qantas will fly an A330 aircraft from Sydney to Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport four times per week on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Qantas flies Melbourne to Delhi on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Chairman’s Note

In the current period, quite a few significant things happened to positively influence the Australia- India bilateral relationship, to me the most important one is the launch of the Qantas direct flight between Sydney and Bengaluru. History was created on 14 Sep when QF67 took off from Sydney Kingsford Airport at 9.30 am in the morning to reach Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru in less than twelve hours’ time. I was honored to be in that inaugural flight that for the first time connected Australia directly with the Southern region of India.

The other inspirational occurrence was legendary music conductor Zubin Mehta felicitated per-sonally by the Governor General of Australia with the highest civilian award in Sydney at the end of his concert at Opera House on 2 September. Maestro Mehta, who first touched down under in 1966, accepted the award as a proud Indian acknowledging the growing Australia India bilateral relationship.

Organised by our MOU partner, Australia India Business Council (AIBC), last month’s three-day Australia India International Business Summit was a grand success. Congratulations to the key organisers – Irfan Malik, AIBC Chairman NSW and Sheba Nandkeolayer, past AIBC National Chair for their tireless efforts for this mega-event which fostered stronger people and business bilateral engagement, spreading across several key industries and sectors including Tourism and Hospitality. Led by AITTC, the half-day session on Tourism was a highlight of the summit.

India-Australia bilateral relationship is expanding at a rapid rate in various sectors. This is testified by the recent visit of several trade delegations from India some led by central government ministers. Similarly there has been visits to India, most notable in the recent time has been the NSW Premier and WA Deputy Premier leading a large delegation to better understand India and its strengths.

Tourism needs to be placed in high order on these visits as this is the sector which was the worst-hit during the pandemic.

To make India one of the top source market for Tourism in Australia, through AITTC I am lobbying development of a National Tourism Strategy Paper on India which shall place the National/State/Regional Tourism Agencies, Tourism product suppliers and all related stakeholders on one page for a uniform understanding about India. I am also strongly advocating with DFAT to include tourism as a prominent sector under the new Centre for Australia-India Relations. I have written to Senator the Hon Don Farrell Minister for Trade and Tourism highlighting the above. While waiting for his response, I am seeking your support to achieve these.

Sandip Hor
Chairman