Bengaluru: Four Indian women pilots and the IT city hub Monday landed in the pages of aviation history when Air India's longest direct flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru touched down here in the wee hours.
According to Air India, this flight is the longest commercial flight in the world to be operated by any Indian airline logging 17 hours depending on the wind speed on that day.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri took to Twitter saying "a moment to cherish and 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 the North Pole to land in Bengaluru from San Francisco”.
Air India too tweeted "Imagine this: -All Women Cockpit Crew. -Longest flight into India. -Crossing the North Pole, it’s here & happening! Records broken. History in the making by AI176 from @flySFO to @BLRAirport. AI 176 is cruising at 30000 feet.”
Flight AI 176 took off from San Francisco at around 8.30 pm (local time) Saturday and landed at the Kempegowda International Airport at around 3.45 am (local time) Monday.
Despite the odd hour and the winter cold, the all-women crew members were given a warm welcome at the airport here.
The flight was operated with a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft with a seating capacity of 238 seats, including eight First Class, 35 Business Class,195 Economy class configuration besides four cockpit and 12 cabin crew.
Flying over the North Pole is tough as the flights have to navigate solar radiations and sometimes harsh turbulence.