Qantas to launch flights from Sydney, Melbourne to Delhi

The two new routes will begin in December with three to four Airbus A330 flights per week.

By David Flynn, November 22 2021
Qantas to launch flights from Sydney, Melbourne to Delhi

Qantas will begin flights from both Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi from December 2021 as the airline revs up its return to international skies.

Although the flights from Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne will be non-stop, Qantas says the Sydney-Delhi and Melbourne-Delhi legs will include a stopover at Adelaide.

The airline had previously announced Darwin would be the stopover for Sydney-Delhi flights, and says it "work with customers to reaccommodate bookings made from Darwin to Delhi."

Passengers will fly on a Qantas Airbus A330, which has 28 lie-flat business class seats and 269 economy seats.

Sydney-Delhi QF67 flights will begin 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 route is still considered to be "seasonal" at this stage.

Qantas' Melbourne-Delhi service will launch on December 22, running 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.

Doubling down on Delhi

Qantas says that when the Sydney-Delhi route went on sale it experienced the fastest booking surge for flights leaving Australia since the airline announced its international restart plans in August.

This also included "a lot of connecting traffic from Melbourne to Sydney," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce remarked today, "and that gave us the confidence to fly direct from Melbourne to Delhi."

Speaking at the route's announcement at Melbourne Airport, Joyce said 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 reflected.

"We see ourselves now going direct to India, and we think the demand for that is going to be substantial."

All travellers on the Delhi flights will need to be fully-vaccinated and must also return a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the departure of their return flight to Sydney or Melbourne.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

Given the need for a stop westbound on services from both MEL and SYD, I assume these services will be operated by A332s that have not had the MTOW increase that will allow A332s to operate on BNE-LAX.   It must be a fairly close run thing range-wise given MEL-DEL is not possible by ADL-DEL is. 

Were it not for the border restrictions, you have expected that one of these services would have operated via PER but obviously QF management have run out of patience and will operate via ADL or DRW instead. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 205

I dont think it would go via PER - its too far off the direct path for DEL flights

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 132

Why Adelaide? Wouldn’t Darwin be a better stopover for the flight? 


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1409

Covo I think they can pick up more India bound passengers in Adelaide than in Darwin.

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 64

Bit like a Formula 1 pit stop. Quick splash of fuel and onwards once more 

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 104

MEL-DEL direct flies almost directly overhead both ADL (and SIN), so ADL makes better sense than DRW for the stopover.

The SYD flight going via ADL instead of DRW is only about 200km extra, so nothing in it really, and probably makes sense to consolidate both flights via ADL for operational efficiencies. 

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 251

Another Qantas schedule change - changing customer bookings less than one month announcing a flight with Sydney-Delhi now stopping in Adelaide. Tough luck if you booked Darwin-Delhi.

How can anyone have confidence when flights keep changing even those announced as brand new?

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 35

I get this is not a permanent schedule, nor is it a dedicated ADL service, but just putting it out there that this is the first a very long time...that our national carrier will operate an international flight out of Adelaide!

Qantas has historically been great with route scheduling and optimization, but I'm really struggling to understand what they were thinking here. Why does the Sydney flight leave at such an inconvenient time? Cant they just push it back 2 hours ie. 805-1740, then 1955-1340 for the return. Also, why do they both stop in ADL? I assume it has something to do with range, but this is just so off putting for customers. Can't one of them stop in Perth to maximize the amount of cities that get service? I just simply do not understand what's going on here. If they MUST do a stopover they shouldn't both be the same city. Anyway, would love to hear people opinions, because I just really don't see the thought process that went behind the scheduling of these flights. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Jan 2019

Total posts 2

WA border restrictions would prevent PER from being a option


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 366

Hey NYA, I understand that the (ADL) stop ex OZ is largely an operational based decision. Ideally non-stop both directions is the goal but right now this is the best they can do with limited aircraft. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2016

Total posts 52

Shame they don't use Darwin as a hub.  Recently flew with Air Niugini to Port Moresby.  The flight up only had 40 pax but the flight in to Sydney had 130.  They are now adding more flights as Christmas approaches.  Qantas don't start flights until April 1.  Why don't they use the Alliance aircraft they have leased to do a short hop from Darwin with passengers transiting from other Australian cities.  Given the short leg, the load factor could be quite low and would allow better utilisation of the aircraft.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1026

The first announcement about the Sydney flights said it was a temporary thing until around March/April. The Melbourne announcement said it was "year round". Which is it? temporary or permanent.

If it's permanent, then which route won't they be restarting?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2568

Hi Himeno, that's a good point – so we've checked back with Qantas, which maintains that the airline's thinking on Sydney-Delhi remains the same, describing the route as being a 'seasonal' service at this time, while Melbourne-Delhi is slated to run all year round (I've updated the article to reflect this).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

Some interesting points :

  • Indian population of Greater Sydney - approx. 130,000
  • Indian population of Greater Melbourne - approx. 160,000
  • Pre-Covid competition : Air India (both SYD & MEL), Singapore Air (both SYD & MEL, can also consolidate BNE & ADL passengers to connect in SIN).  This also ignores Cathay and Malaysian connections via Hong Kong (HKG) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and others
  • Ergo, a highly fragmented market to serve
  • Qantas has no 'feeder' partner or traffic in DEL (Delhi),
  • DEL is the larger market via numbers, but BOM is more business focussed.
  • Has abandoned any market share it may have had in the smaller but more lucrative BOM (Mumbai)
  • Will require a substantial amount of marketing effort and $$$ in both the Australian and Indian markets
    • Indian traffic out of DEL is primarily : Business (small), tourism - will be limited for the next 12-24 months (small), VFR - visiting friends & relatives (large)

    I'm not so convinced that these routes will be a 'winner' without a defined Indian partner that is capable of covering all major Indian cities .. or a possible EK tie-up.  out of DEL.

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