All-women crew for Air India’s inaugural San Francisco-Bengaluru flight

An all-women cockpit crew is set to fly Air India’s longest non-stop service between Bengaluru and San Francisco (SFO), which starts on January 9. A senior AI official told The Times of India that each pair of pilots will “operate the ultra-long flights by turn, along with a senior woman commander as our head of flight safety.”

The aircraft will be piloted by AI’s highly experienced Captains — Akanksha Sonwane, Shivani Manhas, Thanmai Papagari and Zoya Agrawal; and the crew also includes AI’s Executive Director of flight safety, Captain Nivedita Bhasin, the report said. The crew operated Delhi-SFO via the Pacific route on January 6, which is about 1,000 km less distance than the shortest Bengaluru-SFO route. Choice of route usually depends on tailwind and headwind conditions. Route of the flight would depend on the weather, but the official said the plan is to fly the B777 by the Atlantic route over the North Pole enroute Bengaluru – with tailwinds on both sectors.

Beginning January 9, AI will operate two non-stop flights every week to Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, departing on Saturday and Tuesday. The return flight from Bengaluru arrives on Mondays and Thursdays, the airport said in a statement, as per PTI. AI 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. This will be the longest operated route by any US carrier and the third longest in the world.