An all-women cockpit crew of Air India will operate the longest non-stop commercial flight on Saturday from San Francisco to Bengaluru, NDTV reported. It will fly over the North Pole, taking the Atlantic route to reach Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport at 3.45 am on January 11.
The flight, operated on a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, will last more than 17 hours. This is the first ever non-stop route between the West Coast of the United States and South India.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri shared the news on Twitter. “Air India’s woman power flies high around the world,” he wrote. “All women cockpit crew consisting of Captain Zoya Aggarwal, Captain Papagari Thanmai, Captain Akansha Sonaware and Captain Shivani Manhas will operate the historic inaugural flight between Bengaluru and San Francisco.”
Aggarwal, the lead pilot on flight AI 176, told NDTV that the crew is going to try and fly over the North Pole. “However, it depends on multitude of factors like solar radiations and the turbulence,” she added. “So, we are going to sit tight and hope that we will go polar and break all sorts of records.”
Thanmai said the flight would be going as high as 82 degrees north. “Technically, we aren’t flying right over the pole but we are right next to it,” she said. “And then we come south, most probably over Russia, and further down south to Bengaluru.”