Qantas has returned to India. The first commercial Qantas flight to land in India in almost a decade has touched down in New Delhi. It's the first time Qantas has operated a regular commercial service to India since 2012, when its Brisbane to Mumbai service ended.
The airline's arrival in India also marks the start of the first regular passenger flight from Australia to New Delhi since 1974, which might help explain why it's been Qantas's most popular route since Australia's borders reopened.
Following a 15-hour journey from Sydney, flight QF67 cruised onto the tarmac at Indira Gandhi International Airport in India's capital just after 4pm local time on Monday.
The sold-out flight departed from Sydney after 6am local time on Monday morning, transiting via Adelaide before heading to the subcontinent.
The arrival of Monday's A330-200 flight in India marks the start of Qantas's three weekly return schedules from Sydney to New Delhi. In January next year, the airline plans to add more flights on the same route.
The fast-selling flights are almost fully booked throughout the month of December said Qantas, and it's a similar story for the airline's other Australia to India route due to launch before Christmas. From Melbourne to Delhi, Qantas plans to begin operating four flights per week from December 22.
“We’re thrilled to be beginning commercial flights to India for the first time in almost a decade,” said Qantas domestic and international chief executive Andrew David. “There’s a huge amount of pent-up demand from friends and family wanting to reunite after being separated for so long.
“There was an incredible response when we announced both our new routes to Delhi. Forward bookings for the next few months are well ahead of our initial forecasts so while it’s early days, it’s an exciting start.
“The level of pent-up demand on this route can be seen by the fact that almost all customers travelled as planned despite the temporary three-day additional isolation requirement."
All travellers flying to or from India with the Australian airline must be fully vaccinated, except children and those with special exemptions.
Over the past year, Qantas operated more than 60 repatriation flights on behalf of the Federal Government to bring Australians home from India.