Qantas has announced it will ramp up international flights from Melbourne from Monday and will reintroduce its Melbourne-London services from this Saturday.
The airline is also gearing up to relaunch regularly scheduled passenger services between Melbourne and Los Angeles from 19 December.
The announcement comes after Victoria reopened its international border for fully vaccinated Australian citizens and residents earlier this month, and the federal government dropped its ban on outbound travel for Australians.
According to Qantas, its first regularly scheduled international passenger flights from Melbourne restarted on Monday, with QF35 bound for Singapore departing at 11:50am.
At the same time, Qantas announced the launch of a brand-new direct flight from Melbourne to Delhi, due to begin from 22 December.
The new route has been introduced to cater to the nearly 700,000 Indian migrants living in Australia, as well as their parents, who can now apply for an exemption to enter Australia as non-residents.
The airline will operate the Melbourne-Delhi route four times per week, with same day connections available from Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra.
Flights from Melbourne to Delhi will involve one layover in Adelaide, while the Delhi to Melbourne leg will be nonstop.
It follows an earlier announcement that Qantas would introduce a similar brand-new direct route between Sydney and Delhi, beginning 6 December. The airline noted significant demand for this route following its announcement last month.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the relaunch of international flights from Victoria will pave the way for long-awaited reunions with loved ones, after the state eased travel restrictions earlier this month.
“Victorians have done it tougher than most over the past two years and we think many will see the restart of Qantas international flights as another important step towards life getting back to normal,” Joyce said.
“We are starting to see more and more Victorians booking a much-deserved international getaway, and as borders open up to international visitors, we’re expecting to see them visit Melbourne in large numbers, which will give local tourism and hospitality businesses a boost.
“The restart of our international flights is only possible because of the way Victorians and Australians more broadly have rolled up their sleeves to get the jab.
“While the past 20 months has undoubtedly been the most challenging in Qantas’ history, as we emerge from the crisis, we are taking new opportunities to broaden our network in response to unprecedented pent-up travel demand. This is helping us bring more Qantas employees back to work.”
It comes after Qantas dramatically brought forward its planned restart of flights to numerous international destinations last month.
The airline announced that it will bring forward its planned return to flights from Australia to Singapore, Fiji, Johannesburg, Phuket and Bangkok.
The decision came after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottett announced that fully vaccinated overseas arrivals would no longer be required to perform any form of quarantine when returning to the state.
Victoria and the ACT quickly followed suit, dropping quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated Australian citizens and residents arriving from overseas.
Qantas stated that the decision to axe all quarantine requirements for double-jabbed Australians has significantly increased demand for overseas travel, allowing for a faster ramp up in international operations than previously planned.