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First Time In A Decade: Qantas Plans Direct A330 India Flights

Australian national flag carrier Qantas is set to resume Airbus A330 flights between Sydney and the capital of India, Delhi, for the first time in nearly a decade. In a statement released on October 22, 2021, the Sydney-based carrier says it will offer three non-stop weekly flights from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) to Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi, India.

Qantas Airbus A330-200
Qantas will operate three flights a week between SYD and DEL. Photo: Qantas

Starting December 6, 2021, Qantas will deploy one of its 28 Airbus A330 aircraft on the nearly 6,500-mile route. In its statement, Qantas says that pending approval by the Indian authorities, it would like to offer daily flights between the two cities by the end of the year. Flights between Sydney and Delhi will stop at Darwin International Airport (DRW) in the Northern Territory, while flights in the opposite direction will be non-stop.

Australians are keen to fly overseas

In its statement, Qantas says it plans to operate the Sydney to Delhi flights until at least late March 2022 but adds that the flights could continue beyond that if the demand for seats warrants it. The Sydney to Delhi service marks the first time Qantas has operated direct commercial flights to India in nearly ten years. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Qantas has conducted more than 50 repatriation flights to India on behalf of the Australian Government to bring Australian nationals home.

First Time In A Decade: Qantas Plans Direct A330 India Flights
The outbound flight to Delhi will make a stop in Darwin. Image: GCmaps

When speaking about the resumption of Sydney to Delhi flights in the company statement Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said:

“Australians rolling up their sleeves means our planes and our people are getting back to work much earlier than we expected.

“This is the best news we’ve had in almost two years, and it will make a massive difference to thousands of our people who finally get to fly again.

“We know that Australians are keen to get overseas and see friends and family or have a long-awaited holiday, so bringing forward the restart of flights to these popular international destinations will give customers even more options to travel this summer.

“Given the strong ties between Australia and India, flights between Sydney and Delhi have been on our radar for some time, and we think there will be strong demand from family and friends wanting to reconnect once borders open.”

Passengers arriving in Australia need to be fully vaccinated

Qantas Airbus A330-200
Australia has not approved the Sputnik vaccine. Photo: Qantas

When speaking about the resumption of international flights, Qantas says that while many aspects of flying will be like they were pre-COVID-19, some things will look slightly different, at least in the beginning. All passengers traveling to Australia need to be fully vaccinated with Australian Government approved COVID-19 vaccines, which are:

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
  • Coronavac (Sinovac) – used by China
  • Covishield, primarily used in India

*Please note Russia’s Sputnik V and Sputnik Light have not been approved by Australia

Along with proof of vaccination, a negative report from a COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours before flying to Australia is needed for entry into Australia.

Qantas fleet update

In other Qantas-related news, thanks to lifting restrictions on international travel from November 1, 2021, Qantas says it plans to accelerate the return of its Airbus A380 aircraft from storage in the California desert. With newly updated cabins, the plan is to return the double-decker planes into service to operate flights to London and Los Angeles by next spring.

Qantas Airbus A380
Qantas is returning some A380s to service. Photo: Qantas

Qantas says it also plans to bring forward the delivery of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which are currently in storage with the American planemaker.

What do you think about the new Sydney to Delhi flights? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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