Air India all-woman crew scripts history by flying longest route

The flight landed at Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport around 3:45 am on Monday

Capt Zoya Aggarwal was joined by Capt Papagari Thanmai, Capt Akansha Sonaware and Capt Shivani Manhas in the cockpit | Photo: Twitter

An all-woman crew of Air India on Monday scripted history by flying on the airline’s longest direct route from San Francisco to Bengaluru, via North Pole covering 14,000 kms. The flight, with four women pilots on board, landed at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport around 3:45 am on Monday.

“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, who was joined by Capt Papagari Thanmai, Capt Akansha Sonaware and Capt Shivani Manhas in the cockpit.

Captain Manhas called it an “exciting experience” and that the journey took “almost 17 hours”.


Air India welcomed home the four pilot after their touchdown and said, “Kudos for making Air India proud. We also congratulate passengers of AI176 for being part of this historic moment.”

“In a moment to cherish and celebrate, women professionals of Indian civil aviation create history,” Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri tweeted. “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 (sic),” he stated.

Flight AI176 had departed from San Francisco in the US around 8.30 pm (local time) on Saturday and landed in Bengaluru around 3.45 am (local time) on Monday. It was a direct non-stop flight. The direct distance between the two tech cities at opposite ends of the world is 13,993 km with a time zone change of around 13.5 hours.

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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.

Prior to take-off, Captain Aggarwal, who has a flying experience of more than 8,000 hours, had told in an interview they couldn’t undertake the flight over the North Pole last year due to bad weather and it had been a long-standing for a lot of people.