Australian carrier Qantas’ first commercial flight from Melbourne to Delhi took off on December 22, 2021. 

According to Qantas, QF 69 was a sold-out flight, packed with passengers heading to India to reunite with their families and loved ones.

Qantas said in a statement that the Melbourne-Delhi (via Adelaide) route has sold extremely quickly, with almost all flights for December 2021 fully booked across all cabins, and forward bookings well ahead of initial forecasts.

“Usually it takes 12 months to sell out flights on a new international route, but these flights sold out in a few hours,” Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said, noting that the airline was thrilled to be adding new destinations to its route map once again.

“It goes to show how much pent-up demand there is for travel, especially from people wanting to see family and friends after borders were closed for so long.”

“We’re also seeing even more demand for flights from Delhi to Melbourne with international students and skilled migrants now able to return to Australia. With a big Indian expat community and growing trade and investment ties, India is going to be an incredibly important market for the Flying Kangaroo as international travel recovers,” David said. 

After England and China, India has the third most migrant population in Australia, with its population growing by 11 percent a year. Within Australia, the largest Indian population can be found in the state of Victoria, where the city of Melbourne is the capital. 

According to flight tracker site FlightAware, QF69 departed Melbourne at 09:25 local time, arrived in Adelaide at 10:15 local time and departed for Delhi at 11:51 local time, 36 minutes later than scheduled. It is expected to arrive in Delhi at 18:44 local time. The aircraft used was an Airbus A330-200. 

This flight follows Qantas’ first Sydney to Delhi departure that took place on December 6, 2021. The departures from Sydney and Melbourne are also the airline’s first regular passenger flight from Australia to Delhi since 1974.

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After almost a decade, Qantas Airways’ first Sydney to Delhi flight begins. The Melbourne - Delhi service will begin just before Christmas.