After almost a decade the first commercial Qantas flight from Australia landed in India on Monday, marking a new sojourn for Qantas which is one of Australia’s largest airlines by fleet size and international destinations covered. Incidentally, it’s the first time Qantas has operated a commercial service to India since the end of its Brisbane to Mumbai service back in 2012 and the airline’s first regular passenger flight from Australia to Delhi since 1974.

The Sydney-Delhi flight which was an Airbus A330-200 reached the Delhi Airport at 4pm on December 6 and is slated to be a thrice weekly flight. Interestingly, the last commercial Qantas flight to India was the Brisbane-Mumbai service that ended in 2012. Qantas has announced that it will be operating three weekly return flights from Sydney to Delhi, which will increase in January 2022, and four weekly return flights from Melbourne slated to begin from 22 December 2021.

Further, a press release by the carrier on Saturday revealed that the Sydney-Delhi service and the Melbourne-Delhi service, which starts just before Christmas, have been the fastest selling routes on its international network since the borders have been reopened, with most flights in December almost entirely sold out.

Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said demand for flights between Australia and India had surpassed the airline’s expectations. “There was an incredible response when we announced both our new routes to Delhi. Forward bookings for the next few months are well ahead of our initial forecasts so while it’s early days, it’s an exciting start. The level of pent up demand on this route can be seen by the fact that almost all customers travelled as planned despite the temporary three-day additional isolation requirement.” He added, “There are very strong trade and economic links between Australia and India, and both the Melbourne and Sydney routes will help support that as international travel starts to normalise.”

Over the past 12 months, Qantas operated more than 60 repatriation flights on behalf of the Australian government to bring Australians home from India. The air carrier cited in its press release that the initial international flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents in line with the Australian government requirements. These new connections are also expected to allow students and a number of other Australian visa holders to be able to re-enter Australia in the coming weeks.

Source:  ITLN