Qantas will launch three charter flights to Delhi this week to bring home over 500 Australians who've found themselves stranded in India due to coronavirus travel restrictions, after the country entered into a nationwide lockdown from March 24.
Each of the three Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights – two bound for Sydney, and one for Melbourne – will carry 188 passengers, who've each paid $2,300 per ticket.
As with other Qantas repatriation flights, all passengers have paid the same flat-rate economy fare, with the Department of Foreign Affairs determining who will be seated in premium economy and business class.
These join recent Qantas rescue flights from Johannesburg, Buenos Aires and Peru organised by the Federal Government's Department of Foreign Affairs
"There are tens of thousands of Australians in India at any one time, many of them long-term residents of course," said Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who has also flagged a possible Qantas repatriation flight from Manila. All commercial flights in and out of the Philippines have been suspended as of Sunday May 3 until at least May 9, although local carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Air have canceled flights until May 15.
The first two Qantas flights from New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport will depart on Thursday, to arrive into Sydney and Melbourne on Friday morning, with the third leaving New Delhi on Saturday to reach Sydney on Sunday morning.
However, more such flights could follow.
"The situation in India has been, and remains, complex, with Australians located across 27 Indian states and with internal and external travel restrictions continuing to apply," Payne said. "Qantas and our officials in India have prioritised the vulnerable and short-term visitors for this week's flights."