Air India women pilots create history, Flying world’s longest air route


The longest flight over the North Pole will be another feather in Zoya Agarwal’s cap as she was the youngest woman pilot to fly a Boeing-777 in 2013.(ANI/Twitter)

An all-women pilot team of Air India will create history flying over the North Pole on the world’s longest air route. The flight from San Francisco (SFO) will reach Bengaluru on January 11 covering a distance of about 14,000 kilometres.

Air India Captain Zoya Agarwal, the commander of the flight will become the first woman commander of Air India to command flight over the North Pole.

Captain Agarwal will be joined by captain Thanmai Papagari, captain Akansha Sonaware and captain Shivani Manhas. Captain Nivedita Bhasin, executive director (flight safety) at Air India will be also traveling on the flight.

“Women should have self-belief even if they face societal pressure and not consider any task impossible,” Captain Agarwal said.

Flight AI 176  leaving San Francisco at 8:30pm on January 9 will arrive at Bengaluru at 3:45am on January 11. According to aviation experts, flying over the North Pole is extremely technical. It also requires high skill and experience.

Air India said in a statement that this will be the longest commercial flight in the world to be operated by Air India or any other airline in India. The total flight time on this route will be more than 17 hours depending on the wind speed on that particular day.

Captain Agarwal, has a flying experience of more than 8,000 flying hours. She has command experience in a B-777 aircraft of more than 10 years and more than 2,500 flying hours. She was also the youngest woman pilot to fly a Boeing-777 in 2013.

“Air India’s woman power flies high around the world. All women cockpit crew will operate the historic inaugural flight between Bengaluru & San Francisco,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri tweeted congratulating the women.

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