Australia's national airline Qantas will fly non-stop from Bengaluru to Sydney and is finalising a codeshare partnership with IndiGo to make travel between India and Australia easier, it said in a statement on Friday.
From September 14, Qantas will operate four weekly return flights between Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru and Sydney's Kingsford Smith International Airport with its Airbus A330 aircraft.
"These are the first direct flights between Australia and southern India by any airline, cutting almost three hours off the current fastest trip between Bengaluru and Sydney," the airline added.
The new route is being supported by Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport, it said.
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Qantas will continue to operate up to five flights a week between Melbourne and Delhi, making it the only airline offering direct flights between both northern and southern India and Australia.
"Travellers are also set to benefit from improved one-stop access to Sydney from more than 50 Indian cities, as part of a proposed codeshare agreement between Qantas and IndiGo," the airline said.
"The proposed codeshare agreement will enable seamless connections via Bengaluru, Delhi, or Singapore into Australia's largest capital cities," it added.
As part of the proposed agreement, customers who join the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme will be able to earn and redeem points on connecting IndiGo flights 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 customers travelling on IndiGo will enjoy the same baggage allowance for the entire journey as well as complimentary food and drinks, according to the statement.
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, currently intended to start from late April.
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IndiGo will introduce reciprocal benefits for its customers to connect on Qantas and Jetstar in the future.
The airline further stated that the Sydney-Bengaluru flights go on sale from Friday (April 8, 2022) starting from Rs 78,380, for both arrival and departure.
Commenting on the development, Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer, IndiGo, said, "Once finalised, this new partnership will enable the Qantas customers to fly to more than 50 unique cities on IndiGo via Bengaluru, Delhi, and Singapore with the access of 41, 33, and 6 destinations per station respectively."
Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas Group, said demand for direct flights between Australia and India had grown steadily since both countries reopened their borders.
"For the first time southern India will have a direct connection to Australia, which will make travel between the two countries more convenient and much faster for customers," he noted.
Joyce added that the signing of the Australia-India free trade agreement will also drive travel demand as trade and investment links expand between Australia and India's population of more than one billion people.
"Our new direct flights from Bengaluru to Sydney, combined with the proposed codeshare with IndiGo, have the potential to reshape the way many people travel between Australia and India," he said.
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