Qantas has announced that it will launch new flights between Melbourne and Delhi. The announcement comes after the airline recently announced a comeback in India after nearly a decade with flights from Sydney to Delhi.
Starting 22nd December 2021, Qantas will operate 4-weekly year-round flights between Melbourne International Airport and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. The airline has timed the announcement of the new flights with the news that Australia will reopen to skilled migrants and international students from 1st December 2021. Qantas says that it is launching this new route as it has got a very good response on the Sydney-Delhi flights which will start on 6th December 2021. Flights to Delhi will operate via Adelaide while the return flights to Melbourne will be nonstop.
The flights will run with the following schedule:
- Departure time: 09:25
- Arrival time: 18:10
- Flight time: 14 hours and 15 minutes (including a stop)
- Flight number: QF69
- Frequency: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
- Note: This includes a stop in Adelaide
- Departure time: 19:55
- Arrival time: 13:35 (the next day)
- Flight time: 12 hours and 10 minutes
- Flight number: QF70
- Frequency: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
- Note: This is a nonstop flight
Flights will be operated by Airbus A330-200 aircraft featuring Business Class and Economy Class cabins. Same day connections will also be available from Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra.
Qantas will compete with Air India on flights from Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne.
International Qantas flights return to Melbourne
Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas Group, said that the relaunch of international flights from Victoria will pave the way for long-awaited reunions with loved ones, as well as help the state retain its position as one of Australia’s premier destinations for global travellers.
Victorians have done it tougher than most over the past two years and we think many will see the restart of Qantas international flights as another important step towards life getting back to normal. We are starting to see more and more Victorians booking a much-deserved international getaway, and as borders open up to international visitors we’re expecting to see them visit Melbourne in large numbers, which will give local tourism and hospitality businesses a boost. The restart of our international flights is only possible because of the way Victorians and Australians more broadly have rolled up their sleeves to get the jab. While the past 20 months has undoubtedly been the most challenging in Qantas’ history, as we emerge from the crisis we are taking new opportunities to broaden our network in response to unprecedented pent-up travel demand. This is helping us bring more Qantas employees back to work.
Qantas’ international flights from Melbourne have resumed today for the first time in 20 months after the pandemic grounded international travel. The national carrier of Australia has recommenced scheduled international flights from Melbourne today with flight QF35 bound for Singapore departing at 11.50 am. The airline has been operating international flights from Sydney since 1st November 2021.
Qantas will also relaunch flights from between Melbourne and London on 27th November 2021 and between Melbourne and Los Angeles from 19th December 2021. The launch of international flights coincides with the opening of the Qantas First Lounge at Melbourne International Airport.
The airline says that until the neighbouring Business Lounge reopens, Qantas will extend an invitation to passengers travelling in Business, Gold Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members to visit the First Lounge. The First Lounge is normally reserved for Platinum Frequent Flyers.
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India is a important market for Qantas
Tourism Australia says that before the COVID-19 pandemic, India was Australia’s seventh-largest inbound market for visitor arrivals, the sixth-largest market for total visitor spend, and second for visitor nights. According to Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Economics (BITRE), 182,374 passengers flew nonstop in either direction between the two countries in 2019 on 834 Air India flights.
However, these numbers do not include the hundreds of thousands more who fly via hubs like Singapore or Kuala Lumpur on airlines like Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and AirAsia. Strong competition from these airlines and high fuel prices were the reason Qantas stopped flying to India.
However, with a large Indian diaspora in Australia and a large number of Indian students studying in Australia, Qantas seems to think that the time is right to relaunch flights to India.
A little different experience on ground and onboard
Qantas says that while the international travel experience will largely be the same as pre-COVID, some things will look and feel a little different, particularly in the short-term. The airline has rolled out a range of new initiatives including a customised digital travel guide designed to help passengers navigate travel requirements before they leave home.
Passengers will be offered a hybrid dining experience designed by Neil Perry featuring some of the most popular menu items from both the First and Business lounges, such as salt and pepper squid with green chilli dipping sauce, Neil’s pork and veal lasagna and the signature pavlova, as well as fine wines and barista coffee.
For a limited time, the menu will also feature chicken satays and vegetable samosas to celebrate the restart of Singapore flights and the new Melbourne-Delhi flights.
Qantas has reopened nearly all of its 35 Domestic Qantas Club and Business lounges across Australia. It will open the remainder of its international lounges in Australia and overseas in line with the broader reopening of international borders and recommencement of the rest of Qantas’ international network.
The International Business Lounge in Singapore is on track to open early December. The carrier says that in the interim, eligible passengers can use the SATS Lounge in Singapore.
Featured image by Wikimedia Commons
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