Australia and India have agreed open capacity between the major airports in our countries.

The liberalised air services arrangements are an important step for the Australia-India bilateral relationship, providing Australian businesses the opportunity to access a rapidly growing market. As an island nation Australia relies on international aviation to facilitate tourism, trade and maintain people-to-people links necessary for business growth.

The Turnbull Coalition Government has agreed to significantly open aviation arrangements with the world's fastest growing major economy.

The recently settled Australia-India air services arrangements enable Australian airlines to operate unlimited services between Australia and the six major metropolitan airports in India and for Indian airlines to operate unlimited services between India and six airports in Australia.

These air services arrangements provide a foundation for airlines to increase direct flights between Australia and India, in line with the growing scale and profile of the Indian market over the long term.

India is currently our seventh most valuable international tourism market with 302,200 visitors contributing $1.43 billion to the Australian economy in 2017. This valuable market continues to grow and it is estimated that by 2026-27 Australia will welcome more than 640,000 Indians to our shores. This new aviation agreement ensures we have capacity to facilitate this outstanding growth.

Two way trade between Australia and India already sits at $27.4 billion worth of goods and services, making India our fifth largest trading partner. The opportunity for increased freight and cargo enables our exporters to continue to grow this important market.

Liberal code share arrangements are already in place, enabling Australian and Indian airlines to service destinations directly or through hub countries, allowing them to take full advantage of cooperative arrangements with their commercial alliance partners.

This is an exciting time for Australia's tourism and aviation industries, and we look forward to working closely with the Indian Government to further strengthen the ties between our great nations.

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