In a landmark journey, a team of all-woman pilots from Air India is set to create history by flying over the North Pole in an attempt to cover the world’s longest air route. The flight, commanded by AI Captain Zoya Agarwal, will leave from San Franciso and reach Bengaluru after flying over the North Pole and covering a distance of 16,000 kilometres.
“Most people in the world will not see the North Pole or even its map in their lifetime,” an excited Captain Agarwal told news agency ANI. “I feel truly feel privileged and humbled by the trust posed in me by the civil aviation ministry and our flag carrier,” she added.
Agarwal and her team will be flying a Boeing 777 inaugural SFO-BLR and the Captain feels that getting to fly the aircraft over the world’s longest flight route was a “golden opportunity”.
This, however, is not the first achievement for Captain Agarwal, who in 2013 became the youngest woman ever to fly a Boeing-777.
Speaking to the news agency, an official from Air India said that the task was highly challenging and that airline companies only send the very best and most experienced of their pilots to fly over the North Pole.
“This time Air India has given responsibilities to a woman captain for the journey from San Fransico to Bengaluru via polar route,” the official said.
Agarwal’s team consists of highly talented and experienced captains including Thanmai Papagari, Akanksha Sonawane and Shivani Manhas. Agarwal added that she and her team were eagerly awaiting January 9 and that it was indeed a “dream come true for any professional pilot”.
The announcement comes on the heels of a goods train in India that, in a first, was driven from Maharashtra to Vadodara by an all-woman crew. The move, initiated by Western Railways’ Mumbai division, aims to break gender stereotypes when it comes to heavy-duty jobs such as becoming loco pilots or fitters, welders and machinists in the railways.
The news also follows the announcement of the first all-woman disaster management squad being inducted into the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the apex disaster management and rescue operations force in India.