Air India plans to fly from Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi from September, with the route featuring its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The airline sees its Australian flights as "a six-day-a-week proposition, at the least", according to Prashant Sukul, an Air India board member and joint secretary of the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation. "We are now looking at our winter schedule of this year, which begins at the end of September," Sukul told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"We are thinking of doing Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney three times [a week], and Delhi-Sydney-Melbourne four times or three times a week" Sukul says, indicating that while both Australian cities would be served, the flights would not always non-stop.
Bangalore might also see a direct service, with flights potentially stopping at the South Indian city en route.
Australia's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner service?
The flights are expected to feature Air India's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which will start arriving from Boeing in May.
That would make Air India the first airline to fly the 787 Dreamliner to -- and within -- Australia. Qantas is planning for the first Jetstar 787 to serve the Melbourne-Singapore route from mid-2013, while US airline United aims for the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights by mid-2012, likely from Houston to Auckland.
Find out why business travellers will love the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in our photo guide.
Air India plans to offer only business and economy classes on board, with eighteen of the Contour Aerospace Aura seat in business class.
The Contour Aura is a fully flat bed -- not a lie-flat seat, and will be arranged in a 2-2-2 forward-facing layout.
Need a refresher on how the forward-facing layout works? We've got you covered with our full guide to the numerous different kinds of business class seats and cabin layouts.
Air India also plans to transfer passengers through its hub at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport for European destinations, an echo of the old Kangaroo Route flights that stopped in India on the way to and from Australia.
"The basic idea is we want to fill the plane with Australian traffic coming to India for work, for trade, or for tourism. But we also want to take people onwards to Europe, using Delhi as a hub, and not only Europe, but also the neighbourhood," Air India's Sukul said.
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Read up on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with these AusBT articles:
- Qantas plans Boeing 787 from Sydney to Dallas
- Jetstar to run 787 Dreamliner on Auckland-Singapore flights
- Exclusive photo tour: step inside ANA's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner
- Photos and flight report: ANA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner
- Photos: inside the Boeing 787's funky crew rest 'loft'
- Fan pays $32,700 for seat on first ANA Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight
- Boeing’s 787 nixes first class for business, premium economy
- Light fantastic: the Boeing 787’s digital window tinting
- So when will Qantas have the Boeing 787?
- Boeing chooses Android for 787 Dreamliner's entertainment system
- United aims for first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights by mid-2012
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.