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Resuming India operations after a decade, Qantas to launch Delhi-Sydney flight in December

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said these tri-weekly non-stop flights will initially be meant for Australian citizens but expects tourists from India to use the service once the country’s borders reopen to international visitors

October 22, 2021 / 11:56 AM IST
Alan Joyce, Chief Executive Officer of Qantas (File image)

Alan Joyce, Chief Executive Officer of Qantas (File image)

Australian airline Qantas will start a non-stop flight between Delhi and Sydney, three times a week, from December 6. The frequency of the flight will increase to a daily service by the end of the year, the airline said in a statement. It added that the flight is subject to discussions with Indian authorities to finalise approvals.

This will be the airline’s first commercial flight between India and Australia in almost a decade. The last time Qantas operated direct commercial flights between India and Australia was in 2009, when it operated to Mumbai.

“The flights will initially operate until at least late March 2022, with a view to continuing if there is sufficient demand. Delhi to Sydney flights will operate non-stop, while flights from Sydney to Delhi will operate via Darwin,” the statement added.

Over the past 12 months, the airline has operated more than 50 repatriation flights from India on behalf of the Australian Government, to take Australians home.

Before the pandemic, Air India was the only carrier providing non-stop connections between India and Australia although other airlines, such as Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, also provided one-stop connections from various cities in India to various cities in Australia.

Close

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “Given the strong ties between Australia and India, flights between Delhi and Sydney have been on our radar for some time, and we think there will be strong demand from family and friends wanting to reconnect once borders open.”

He added that while these flights will initially be for Australian citizens, “we expect tourists from India will take advantage of these flights once borders reopen to international visitors”.

U-turn

The latest development comes weeks after Joyce had told the Indian media at the recently concluded Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Boston that Qantas is not looking to restart flights to India in the near future.

“The problem for us has always been that Indian traffic has been much disbursed. When we flew into Mumbai, it was only one location. We found that it was better to fly into Singapore and at that time we had a relationship with Jet Airways, which flew to multiple locations in India. We continue to look for different partners in India. But as the market grows, we will eventually have a direct service,” he had said.
Ashwini Phadnis is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.
first published: Oct 22, 2021 11:56 am

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