Air India is to start flights to Australia next month, the first time India’s national airline has flown to the island nation in 16 years.
News.com.au reported earlier this month that Air India will utilise its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on the route, which will fly to Sydney and Melbourne from New Delhi.
On four days of the week the daily flights will operate directly to Sydney, then onwards to Melbourne before returning to India. On the other three days of the week, flights will touch down in Melbourne first before flying back via Sydney. The triangular routing reflects the high concentration of Indians in Australia’s two largest cities.
The 787 Dreamliner makes use of cutting edge technology to improve passenger comfort and minimise fuel wastage, meaning the aircraft can fly very long distances without the need to refuel. Air India has seven Dreamliners in its fleet and is using them to start new routes to Europe, and to reinvigorate existing routes. However the Dreamliner has suffered a series of setbacks, including a development process running late by several years, and at least two on-board fires caused by lithium batteries. Neither incident involved Air India.
According to Newstrack India, Australia’s High Commissioner in Delhi Bernard Philip said that “the direct Air India flights are yet another example of the strength in the Australia-India relationship, and the rapidly expanding people-to-people links between our two countries”.
The flights are due to begin operation on 29th August 2013, and Air India is taking bookings for the service on its website.