In a historic move, Air India's longest direct route 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 kilometres.
"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."
"Welcome Home Capt Zoya Agarwal, Capt Papagiri Thanmei, Capt Akanksha & Capt Shivani after completing a landmark journey with touchdown @BLRAirport. Kudos for making Air India proud. We also congratulate passengers of AI176 for being part of this historic moment," Air India tweeted.
"In a moment to cherish & celebrate, women professionals of Indian civil aviation create history. Heartiest Congratulations to Capt Zoya Aggarwal, Capt Papagari Thanmai, Capt Akansha Sonaware & Capt Shivani for flying over North Pole to land in Bengaluru from San Francisco," Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.
The inaugural flight AI176 departed from San Francisco in the USA at 8.30 pm (local time) on Saturday and landed at the Kempegowda International Airport at 3.45 am (local time) today.
Before the flight Union, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep 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."
It was the first direct non-stop flight between the two tech cities - San Francisco and Bengaluru.
Air India will operate two non-stop flights per week to Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore, departing on Saturday and Tuesday. The return flight from Bangalore arrives on Mondays and Thursdays, San Francisco International Airport said in a statement.
Air India will operate the flights using state-of-the-art Boeing 777-200LR long-range aircraft equipped with 238 seats, comprising 8 First Class, 35 Business Class, and 195 Economy Class seats.