National carrier Air India has operated its first flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru on Saturday. According to a statement issued by Air India, "The flight will be operated by an all women cockpit crew of Capt Zoya Aggarwal (P1), Capt Papagari Thanmai (P1), Capt Akansha Sonaware (P2) and Capt Shivani Manhas (P2)." Notably, the direct distance between Bengaluru and San Francisco is approximately 13,993 km and the cities are diametrically at opposite ends of the world with a time zone change of about 13.5 hours.
"The total flight time on this route will be of more than 17 hours depending on the wind speed on that particular day," the airline said. According to the statement, this will be the longest commercial flight in the world to be operated by Air India or any other airline in India.
Way to go girls!Professional, qualified & confident, the all women cockpit crew takes off from San Francisco to Bengaluru on @airindiain's flight to fly over North Pole.Our Nari Shakti achieves a historic first. pic.twitter.com/X46cs73dQu— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) January 10, 2021
"The flight will operate with a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft VT ALG with a seating capacity of 238 seats including 8 first class, 35 business class, 195 economy class configurations, besides 4 cockpit and 12 cabin crew," it said.
"The route for this flight will be the safest, fastest and most economical. It will be an around-the-world flight and based on the wind speed and other logistical parameters, the polar route may be chosen as the flight path, which will result in savings on flying time, fuel consumption and curbing carbon footprint.
"Air India is engaging an all women cockpit crew for this flight. Air India has the highest women employee ratio for an airline in the world. Capt Nivedita Bhasin, Executive Director (Flight Safety), Air India, is also traveling on this flight," the statement said.
At present, Air India operates non-stop flights from Delhi to New York, Newark, Washington DC, San Francisco and Chicago and from Mumbai to Newark and New York. In addition, the airline plans to start its first ever non-stop service between Hyderabad and Chicago from January 15.