Australia’s Victoria Eyes MENA Trade Spike

Increased trade opportunities and direct air links are driving business between the regions.



The South Australian state of Victoria expects an annual increase in exports to the MENA region of at least Dhs900 million during the next two years.

Increased trade opportunities and missions, coupled with more direct air links, are driving business.

From October 1, Emirates will start A380 services to Melbourne, its third day flight to the city – a far cry from when it launched three-a-week services in 1996.

Even more lift will be coming into the city next year, assuming the Emirates-Qantas partnership is rubber stamped by regulatory authorities.

From April, Qantas plans to switch its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai. The two airlines will jointly offer 98 weekly services between Australia and Dubai, including four daily A380 flights. Qantas’ daily A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne to London via Dubai will offer a combined seven daily A380 flights to London Heathrow.

To capitalise on growing commercial and sporting ties, a ‘Victoria Week’ was launched at Atlantis The Palm on Wednesday, where the Emirates Melbourne Cup was on display.

The conference was held at Seafire steakhouse, where leading Australian chef George Calombaris will launch the venue’s first brunch on Friday (Dhs435 per person with drinks).

Approximately 100 Victorian food companies export directly to the MENA region, representing a lucrative sector worth Dhs3.7 billion.

John Butler, Commissioner to MENA for the State Government of Victoria, said it is planning a larger trade mission next February, which will coincide with the Gulfood Exhibition, after its first trade mission in February attracted 100 organisations from F&B, infrastructure, water and agribusiness sectors.

Boutros Boutros, divisional senior vice president for Corporate Communications at Emirates, said it had established the principals of the partnership with Qantas, and it was now working through the technicalities. The airline operates 70 weekly flights to four Australian cities and services to a fifth, Adelaide, start in November.

He believes the deal will “open the door” for more airlines to fly to Australia, and that increased competition will lead to lower prices. “The sky’s the limit with this partnership,” he said.