Australian airline Qantas is set to launch direct flights between Melbourne and New Delhi from next month.
The presence of a large Indian community in Melbourne and heavy demand for tickets in the Sydney-New Delhi sector was the main impetus. As a result, for the first time in its history, Qantas is set to launch direct flights between Melbourne and New Delhi from next month. This comes with the already announced direct flights between Sydney and New Delhi that is also slated to begin next month.
Chief executive of Qantas Alan Joyce said he expected huge demand for the route as Melbourne has a large Indian community. He also spoke about the “unbelievable” number of bookings on its just-launched service between Sydney and New Delhi.
“In December, there are only nine empty seats on our operation for that month, and we saw a lot of connecting traffic from Melbourne to Sydney, and that gave us the confidence to fly direct from Melbourne to Delhi,” he said.
For almost a decade now, Qantas has not had direct commercial flight service to India. Instead, passengers used to disembark in Singapore to catch a connecting flight through Qantas codeshare partner Jet Airways, which eventually went bankrupt in 2019.
But Mr Joyce believes that since the COVID-19 pandemic, passengers have been looking more for direct flights instead of transferring through another airport.
“We think the demand for that is going to be quite substantial,” Mr Joyce said. “We’re hopeful that once we also see tourists and students, the demand will be even bigger because we’re missing a couple of very big parts of the market, and already the flights are full.”
Monday saw the first Qantas international commercial flight take off from Melbourne after a gap of 20 months. Just a day earlier, Australia and Singapore had opened a two-way travel bubble that allows vaccinated residents to move between the two countries without the need to quarantine. It is the first time since March 2020 that non-residents other than New Zealanders have been allowed to travel to Australia without having to quarantine on arrival.