A non-stop Qantas flight from Sydney to Delhi took off on Monday morning, the first time the airline has flown to the Indian city in more than 40 years.
The airline flies three flights a week on the route and will launch four weekly flights from Melbourne to Delhi from 22 December.
Qantas will use an Airbus A330 on both routes and fly, for technical reasons, via Adelaide outbound. The return legs will fly directly to Sydney and Melbourne.
According to the airline, the two routes have been the airline’s fastest selling since the borders were reopened, with most flights sold out in December. Qantas has not flown regularly to Delhi since 1974 and stopped its last regular India route, Brisbane to Mumbai, in 2012.
Qantas’ national and international CEO Andrew David says the demand for the flights has exceeded the airline’s expectations.
“There is a huge amount of accumulated demand from friends and family who want to be reunited after being separated for so long,” he said. Pre-orders for the next few months are well above our initial forecasts, so even though it’s early days, it’s an exciting start.
“The level of accumulated demand on this route can be seen by the fact that almost all customers traveled as planned, despite the temporary three-day extra isolation requirement.”
NSW and Victoria announced last week that all international arrivals should be isolated for 72 hours following the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Those arriving from eight countries in southern Africa are to be quarantined for 14 days. Qantas currently plans to continue resuming direct flights between Sydney and Johannesburg from 4 January.
To enter India, travelers must provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel. Qantas also requires all passengers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
In response to the Omicron variant, India now also requires that passengers arriving from “risk countries” be quarantined for seven days. The list of risk countries currently includes the whole of Europe along with Singapore and New Zealand, but not Australia.
Qantas will restart a large number of international flights this month, in addition to those already resumed, including Sydney-Fiji (December 11), Sydney-Vancouver (December 18), Melbourne-Los Angeles (December 19) and Sydney -Honolulu (December 20).
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