Qantas is set to operate four weekly return flights from Sydney to the Indian tech hub of Bengaluru from 14 September.
It significantly comes a week after Australia signed a historic trade deal with India, which its government believes could double trade between the two countries in five years.
The Flying Kangaroo will supplement the new route with a new codeshare agreement with IndiGo, India’s largest domestic carrier, which will give customers one-stop access to more than 50 Indian cities.
“Sydney is one of the world’s truly global cities, and these new direct flights to India and Korea will make it easier for millions of people to come here,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
“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.
“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.”
Qantas will operate the service with its widebody A330s, which can accommodate up to 300 passengers. The new route is also expected to cut almost three hours off the fastest travel time.
“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,” said Qantas in a statement.
“Qantas customers travelling on IndiGo will enjoy the same baggage allowance for the entire journey as well as complimentary food and drinks.
“The partnership will extend to Jetstar customers who will be able to book connecting flights on IndiGo services through its Jetstar Connect platform on jetstar.com from late April.”
Qantas and Jetstar will also both launch direct flights to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport later this year.
Jetstar will fly three times a week to South Korea using its 787-8s from 2 November, while Qantas will restart the route with its A330s from 10 December.
“South Korea is Australia’s fourth-largest trading partner, and Koreans see Sydney as one of the top tourism destinations,” said Joyce. “With expected strong business, premium leisure and low-cost travel demand on the route, we see an opportunity for both Qantas and Jetstar to fly on the route.”
The news comes ahead of Qantas launching a further six routes next week and having started six new international routes in the last six months, including, Perth-Rome and Melbourne-Delhi, Melbourne-Dallas Fort Worth and Darwin-Dili.