An all-women team of Air India is set to make history when they pilot the longest non-stop commercial flight operated by any airline to India later in the week. The flight is being operated on a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft and will last more than 17 hours and may touch 16,000 kilometres in distance, depending on the route flown.
"It's 16,000-odd km. So, we are looking at world's longest flight. And, yes, we are going to try and fly the polar route (over the North Pole). However, it depends on multitude of factors like solar radiations and the turbulence. So, we are going to sit tight and hope that we will go polar and break all sorts of records," said Captain Zoya Aggarwal, the lead pilot on flight AI 176.
The flight departs San Francisco at 8:30 PM (Local Time) today and lands at Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport at 3.45 AM (local time) on January 11, 2021.
Flying over the Arctic would shorten the distance between the two technology hubs -- Bengaluru and San Francisco -- which are approximately 13,993 km apart, and on opposite ends of the world with a time zone lag of 13.5 hours.
"The route will be San Francisco-Seattle-Vancouver and we 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. And then we come south, most probably over Russia, and further down south to Bengaluru," Captain Papagari Thanmai, one of the four pilots onboard told NDTV.
Air India Executive Director of Flight Safety, Capt Nivedita Bhasin, is also be traveling on this flight, a statement from the airline said, adding that this is the first ever non-stop route between the West Coast of USA and South India.
Air India also plans to start its first ever non-stop service between Hyderabad and Chicago from January 15.