Air India will finally start direct flights to Melbourne from its hub in Delhi, following approval from India's aviation regulator.
A Melbourne Airport spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller this morning that the airport is planning for Air India to start direct flights between Delhi and Melbourne.
Air India's plans -- put on hold last December by the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry -- are back on for later this year.
As the only direct flights between India and Australia, the new services will be popular with business travellers heading to the world's second-largest country.
But the new routes will also open up options for connecting flights to the Middle East and Europe. Air India flies onwards to:
- European destinations London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt
- Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE
- Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia
- Muscat in Oman
- Kuwait City
Air India is also planning to enter the Star Alliance airline network later this year, which will increase the number of connection options for business travellers.
Star Alliance airlines will also enable extra onward flights from Delhi to:
- Vienna (Austrian Airlines)
- Frankfurt & Munich (Lufthansa)
- Zürich (Swiss)
- Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
Business travellers heading into Delhi will be able to speed between Indira Gandhi International Airport the airport and the city in 20 minutes on the new metro line.
Alternatively, the new Eaton Smart transit hotel (from the Hong Kong-based Langham Hotels group) in the airport's terminal 3 will be useful for passengers connecting onwards with long stopovers in Delhi.