Qantas Routes India Flights via Adelaide

Qantas Routes India Flights via Adelaide
Qantas will fly A330-200s from Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi via Adelaide. Photo: Qantas.

Qantas flights to India will commence from both Sydney and Melbourne next month, with flights to Delhi from both cities stopping over in Adelaide.

Earlier this week, the airline announced it will commence regular 4x weekly Melbourne-Delhi flights from 22 December 2021, with flights stopping in Adelaide on the outbound journey to India. Qantas has also now re-routed its daily Sydney-Delhi flights, due to start on 6 December, via Adelaide instead of Darwin.

Qantas’ Sydney-Delhi flights (QF67) will retain the same basic schedule, although the flights now leave Sydney five minutes later and arrive in Delhi five minutes later. The overall flight time from Sydney to Delhi remains exactly 15 hours, despite the change in the stopover destination. QF68 from Delhi to Sydney has been slightly retimed to depart Delhi and arrive in Sydney five minutes earlier.

Both flights will return non-stop from Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne. But Qantas needs to add a refuelling stop on the outbound journeys of both flights due to the limited range of the Airbus A330-200s being used for these flights. The extra stop in Adelaide is not required on the inbound journey due to the prevailing tailwinds in that direction.

It is not yet clear why Qantas has changed the stopover of its Sydney-Delhi flights from Darwin to Adelaide. Qantas has been contacted for comment.

Adelaide CBD
All of Qantas’ flights to India will now stop over in Adelaide. Photo: Matt Graham.

Qantas is currently running its Sydney-London flights via Darwin, and will also operate its Melbourne-London flights via Darwin when they resume on Sunday. The airline has even just opened a pop-up transit lounge at Darwin International Airport, leasing the space formerly used by the Catalina Lounge in Darwin.

The Qantas flights to Delhi via Adelaide will depart from the international terminals in Sydney and Melbourne. Seats on the Sydney-Adelaide and Melbourne-Adelaide sectors of these flights are not currently available for sale individually.

Behind Qantas’ new flights to India

Qantas did not fly to India in the years before the pandemic, but has seized on the current opportunity created by huge pent-up demand for travel from Australia to the subcontinent. Combined with a lack of supply on other airlines, this has created a perfect opportunity for Qantas to step in.

Before COVID-19, Air India was the only airline operating direct flights between Australia and India. The airline, now under new ownership, has just resumed 3x weekly Sydney-Delhi flights using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners after withdrawing from the Australian market during the pandemic.

Air India 787-8
Air India has resumed flying to Sydney. Photo: Daniel Eledut on Unsplash.

In pre-COVID times, around 75% of people flying between Australia and India flew via a third country. But there are currently far fewer connecting flights available via traditional hubs like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong. With some Southeast Asian countries now requiring additional COVID-19 tests or even mandatory travel insurance just to transit to another international destination, there is also now higher demand for non-stop international flights.

Qantas’ flights from Sydney to Delhi already appear to be very full, and the first Melbourne-Delhi service has already sold out. The flights in the other direction from India to Australia appear slightly less full so far, but there is still solid demand. Recent Australian government changes to allow the parents of Australians and eligible visa holders into the country may also help to stimulate inbound demand.

Qantas has said that its Melbourne-Delhi flights will operate year-round. But the future of the Sydney-Delhi flights beyond the end of March 2022 is not yet certain.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas to fly to Delhi from Sydney & Melbourne

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]