In a first-ever non-stop air service between tech hubs Bengaluru and San Francisco, an Air India flight is all set to land at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) early Monday morning. The flight will be operated by an all-women cockpit crew.
The first flight AI 176 will take off from San Francisco at 8.30 pm local time on Saturday, arriving in the city at 3.45 am on Monday. The flight will operate on Saturdays and Tuesdays with a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft VT ALG. The aircraft has a seating capacity of 238 seats including eight First Class, 35 Business Class, 195 Economy class configuration, besides four Cockpit and 12 Cabin crew.
The all-women cockpit crew will include Capt Zoya Aggarwal (P1), Capt Papagari Thanmai(P1), Capt Akansha Sonaware (P2) and Capt Shivani Manhas (P2). Captain Zoya Aggarwal has a flying experience of over 8,000 hours. She also has command experience in a B-777 aircraft of more than 10 years and over 2500 flying hours.
The direct distance between Bengaluru and San Francisco is 13,993 kms. 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 more than 17 hours depending on the wind speed on that particular day.
An Air India spokesperson said the route for this flight will be “the safest, fastest and most economical.” 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.
The service is arguably the longest commercial flight in the world to be operated by Air India or any other airline in India. Air India says it 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.”
This is also the first ever non-stop route between the West Coast of the United States and South India. Currently, 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.
Air India has also proposed to start its first ever non-stop service between Hyderabad and Chicago from January 15. The airline has flown about 16 lakh people on over 12 thousand flights covering 75 destinations in 55 countries under the Indian Government’s Vande Bharat Mission and Air Transport Bubble Arrangement.