Qantas announces direct flights from Sydney to Bengaluru

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Australia’s national carrier Qantas has announced direct flights from Sydney to Bengaluru. It will run four weekly return flights starting September 2022.

It will be the first non-stop flight between Australia and south India by any airline and will be undertaken in partnership with IndiGo Airlines.

“Qantas intends to enter into a codeshare agreement with IndiGo, India’s largest domestic carrier, which will give customers improved one-stop access to more than 50 Indian cities,” Qantas elaborated in a statement.

“The proposed agreement will mean Qantas passengers can transit seamlessly from Qantas flights in Bengaluru, Delhi, or Singapore onto IndiGo services to other major Indian cities as well as smaller ones such as Pune and Goa.”

The Sydney-Bengaluru flight route is expected to begin from 14 September 2022.

Last year, the national carrier had begun Sydney-Delhi and Melbourne-Delhi direct flights five times a week, much to the relief of international students, temporary residents, and members of the diaspora. However, travellers to South India had to make additional arrangements upon reaching the national capital. This announcement is expected to reduce their travel time by around three hours.

Additionally, a planned codeshare agreement between Qantas and IndiGo could improve access to more than 50 Indian cities.

“Under the planned agreement, Qantas Frequent Flyers will be able to earn and redeem points on connecting IndiGo flights (QF code only), and IndiGo will recognise Qantas Frequent Flyer benefits for tiered members (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One), including priority check-in, additional baggage allowance and priority baggage,” Qantas explained.

The question of increased air connectivity had been brought up by Indian Link’s Pawan Luthra at a press conference with Indian media held by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan on 4 April, following the inking of the Australia-Indian ECTA.

Pawan had asked the minister then, “Comparing the ease of travel from Australia to China versus India, pre‑pandemic there were about six flights a day, or 72 a week, going from Australia to various parts of China, resulting in a greater flow of students, of business leaders, of visitors. Currently, there are only about 10 flights a week between India and Australia, largely to Delhi, by Qantas and Air India. Have there been discussions between Indian and Australian Governments to have the national carriers Qantas and Air India increase their footprint to accelerate their growing relationship?”

The Minister had replied, “Absolutely. We’ve been encouraging the airlines to open up more routes. One of the flow-on benefits of the (AI-ECTA) agreement is that we will see more and more aviation capacity open up. The 2022 World Cup, will also lead to more planes in the sky and, therefore, that will build even further the relationship on the people-to-people side. Remember also that planes not only carry people, but also goods in their underbelly.”

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, too, noted that the AI-ECTA has played a role in opening up additional flight routes to India.

“The signing of the Australia-India free trade agreement is a driver of travel demand as trade and investment links expand between Australia and India’s population of more than one billion people,” he noted. “Our new direct flights to Bengaluru, combined with the planned codeshare with IndiGo, have the potential to reshape the way many people travel between Australia and India.”

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