Qantas now connects both Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi, with the first Melbourne-Delhi service taking wing today as the airline revs up its return to international skies.
Although the flights from Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne are non-stop, the Sydney-Delhi and Melbourne-Delhi legs ‘initially’ include a stopover at Adelaide for the Airbus A330, which has 28 lie-flat business class seats and 269 economy seats.
Tickets on both flights have been among the airline’s fastest-selling, with passengers heading to India to reunite with their families and loved ones.
“Usually it takes 12 months to sell out flights on a new international route, but these flights sold out in a few hours,” said Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David.
“With a big Indian expat community and growing trade and investment ties, India is going to be an incredibly important market for the Flying Kangaroo as international travel recovers.”
Doubling down on Delhi
Sydney-Delhi QF67 flights began on December 6 at an initial three days per week – Monday, Thursday and Saturday – departing Sydney at 6.05am for a 3.35pm touchdown in Delhi.
The QF68 return leg leaves Delhi at 6pm and heads straight to Sydney to land at 11.45am the following day.
Qantas plans to boost the Sydney-Delhi route to a daily service from January 3, although the airline maintains the flights will "initially operate until at least late March 2022, with a view to continuing if there is sufficient demand.”
A Qantas spokesperson tells Executive Traveller that the Sydney-Delhi route is still considered to be "seasonal" at this stage.
Qantas' Melbourne-Delhi service will run four times a week throughout the year.
The Melbourne-Delhi flight QF69 will depart Melbourne at 9.25am every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, with a short stopover in Adelaide before heading to Delhi for a 6.10pm touchdown.
At the time of writing, the Adelaide-Delhi leg of QF69 can also be booked on its own, departing Adelaide at 11.15am – although you'll need to fly from Delhi back to Sydney or Melbourne and then catch a connecting domestic flight to Adelaide.
The QF70 return leg leaves Delhi at 7.55pm and heads straight to Melbourne to land at 1.35pm the following day.
Direct flights hold fresh appeal
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce says that as a result of the pandemic "we see more people wanting to fly direct rather than going through hubs" such as Singapore, which Qantas had previously relied upon with partner Jet Airways, which collapsed into bankruptcy in 2019.
"Qantas used to service the market into Singapore and then connect with an Indian carrier to service a range of destinations in India," Joyce reflects.
"We see ourselves now going direct to India, and we think the demand for that is going to be substantial."