Air India’s longest direct route flight with the all-women pilot team landed at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru from San Francisco, flying over the North Pole and covering a distance of about 16,000 kilometres 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,” Captain Zoya Aggarwal said.Also Read - Ahead of Handover to Tata Group, Air India Pilots Seek Clearance of Dues, Corrections to Deductions in Arrears

The inaugural flight AI176 departed from San Francisco in the USA at 8.30 pm (local time) on Saturday and landed at the Kempegowda International Airport at 3.45 am (local time) on Monday. Also Read - Air India Divestment Likely To Be Concluded By January 27

Captain Zoya Aggarwal, Captain Papagari Thanmai, Captain Akansha Sonaware and Captain Shivani Manhas were among the all-women pilot team who flew the longest commercial flight in the world. Also Read - Third Wave of Coronavirus in India: Has COVID Curve Started to Flatten, What Lies Ahead?

The flight was commanded by Captain Aggarwal. Zoya 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.

“Women should have self-belief even if they face societal pressure and not consider any task impossible,” Captain Agarwal said. “I am extremely proud to have with me experienced women team comprising Captains Thanmai Papagari, Akanksha Sonawane and Shivani Manhas. This is the first time an all-women pilots team will fly over the North Pole and create a history of sorts. It’s indeed a dream come true for any professional pilot,” she told news agency ANI.

Speaking of flying over the polar region, Captain Zoya in her exclusive interview to India Today explained: “Polar flight, on a proving basis, has been done earlier, but this is the first time we have an all-women crew. The ‘Bharat Ki Betis’ are flying all the way from Silicon Valley of the US to the Silicon Valley of India.”

“Till now we’ve been operating the ultra-long-haul flights, however, those flights could be flying over the Atlantic Ocean, and coming back, or over the Pacific Ocean and coming back over the Atlantic. There are many permutations and combinations. However, this flight is particularly different because you get to fly over the North Pole! How many people have seen the North Pole?! I consider myself super fortunate to command the airplane and to view the North Pole from top and come on the other side! It’s going to be a new chapter in aviation history,” Captain Zoya said to India Today.