Why Were Two Qantas Dreamliners Spotted in Chennai?

Chennai Airport in southeastern India has been graced with the presence of not one, but two Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The jets – which have arrived over the last two days – are both at the facility on repatriation duties.

The first Australian widebody to arrive, VH-ZNI (c/n 66073) touched down at 4.36pm local time on June 3, after a nearly 11-hour flight from Sydney. The second, VH-ZNE (c/n 63391) arrived from Melbourne at 3.11pm on June 4, following an almost ten-hour journey.

Chennai Airport Dreamliners
All photos: Chennai Airport/Vishnudas L

In a Twitter post, the airport described the visits as a “rarity”, adding that the type is “always a stunning sight.”

It is not known how long the aircraft are due to stay in Chennai, but it’s thought they will fly back to the same departure points upon their return to Australia.

Chennai Airport Dreamliners2

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flag carrier suspended all international flights from late March, after government advice not to travel was issued in the country.

However, during the crisis, Qantas has continued to operate a large number of repatriation flights for Australian citizens stranded abroad.

Chennai Airport Dreamliners3