Qantas will launch the first new international route from Melbourne since the onset of Covid-19 when it begins flights to Delhi next month.

The new year-round service will take off on December 22 and will initially operate four times a week from Melbourne to Delhi via Adelaide using an Airbus A330, with the return leg flying directly from Delhi to Melbourne.

The announcement came as Qantas resumed regular scheduled international flying out of Melbourne for the first time since March 2020.

The airline re-started flights to Singapore today with flights to London via Darwin set to follow later this week, allowing hundreds of Melbourne-based crew to begin returning to work.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said that while international travel would take time to recover from Covid-19, the new Delhi service was a huge vote of confidence in Victoria. 

“Direct international air services are worth millions of dollars to the state’s economy”, he said.

“Not only do they allow easier access for visiting family and friends, tourists, skilled workers and students, they also give local exporters the ability to send time-critical produce into huge overseas markets.

“We’re working with our airline partners and the Victorian state government to restore the capacity we’ve lost during the pandemic, and to explore potential opportunities for new routes.

“The Melbourne-Delhi link is a major addition to Qantas’ route network, and one we believe has significant potential.

“To ensure these new services remain viable it is vital the federal government commits to re-opening to all fully-vaccinated travellers as soon as possible.

“Australians have had the opportunity to come home and given our high levels of community vaccination, the time is right to welcome back the rest of the world”.