All-woman team plots Air India’s San Francisco-Bengaluru flight via North Pole

21 Jan 2021


Air India’s first direct flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru AI-176, piloted by an all-women crew,  took off from San Francisco on Saturday at 8.30 pm (local time) and reached Bengaluru after 17 hours at 3.25 am on Monday, creating history.

The flight with the all-women pilot team landed at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru from San Francisco, flying over the North Pole and covering a distance of about 16,000 kilometers, in a 17-hour direct flight. 
It was the longest commercial flight in the world to be operated by Air India or any other airline in India. It was also the first direct non-stop flight between the west coast of the United States and southern India.
The flight over North Pole itself is challenging and aviation companies assign only experienced pilots on this route. 
The total flight time on this route was more than 17 hours depending on the wind speed, Air India had said in a statement on the eve of the historic flight.
The team of pilots included Captain Zoya Aggarwal, Captain Papagari Thanmai, Captain Akansha Sonaware and Captain Shivani Manhas.
Air India hailed the women pilots completing a landmark journey and also congratulated the passengers of AI176 for being a part of this historic moment.
#FlyAI : Welcome Home Capt Zoya Agarwal, Capt Papagiri Thanmei, Capt Akanksha & Capt Shivani after completing a la… Air India tweeted.
"Today, we created world history by not only flying over the North Pole but also by having all women pilots who successfully did it. We are extremely happy and proud to be part of it. This route has saved 10 tonnes of fuel," said Captain Zoya Aggarwal.
Shivani Manhas, one of the four pilots who operated Air India's inaugural San Francisco-Bengaluru flight said, "It was an exciting experience since it was never done before. It took almost 17 hours to reach here."
Before the flight union minister for civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri reacted over the history in making and had said, "Air India's woman power flies high around the world, our Nari Shakti achieves a historic first."
In a moment to cherish & celebrate, women professionals of Indian civil aviation create history.Heartiest Congrat…  — Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri).

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