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Air India flies Delhi-San Francisco nonstop over Pacific, and into record books

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Air India has become the first ever flight to flown over the Pacific Ocean from Delhi to San Fransico (SFO), instead of the Atlantic.  Air India flew non-stop over the Ocean making the record of operating the world’s longest nonstop flight.

About Air India :

Air India is the flag carrier airline of India and the third-largest airline in India in terms of passengers carried, after IndiGo and Jet Airways. It is owned by Air India Limited, a Government of India enterprise, and operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving 85 domestic and international destinations.

  • It is headquartered in New Delhi. Air India has its main hub at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi and a secondary hub at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. Air India became the 27th member of Star Alliance on 11 July 2014.
  • The airline was founded by J. R. D. Tata as Tata Airlines in 1932; Tata himself flew its first single-engine de Havilland Puss Moth, carrying air mail from Karachi to Bombay’s Juhu aerodrome and later continuing to Madras.
  • After World War II, it became a public limited company and was renamed as Air India. On 21 February 1960, it took delivery of its first Boeing 707–420 named Gauri Shankar and became the first Asian airline to induct a jet aircraft in its fleet. In 2000–01, attempts were made to privatize Air India and from 2006 onwards, it suffered losses after its merger with Indian.
  • Air India also operates flights to domestic and Asian destinations through its subsidiaries Air India Regional and Air India Express.
  • Air India uses the Airbus A320 family and Boeing 787 aircraft for selected domestic routes while long distance services use the Boeing 777-Air India Flight300ER, 747 and 787 aircraft. Air India’s mascot is the Maharajah (Emperor) and the logo consists of a flying swan with the wheel of Konark inside it.

About the Non-Stop Longest Flight :

The Pacific route is almost 1,400km longer than the Atlantic one, and the flight covered 15,300 kilometres in 14.5 hours. Despite the route being longer, the flight took almost two hours less thanks to tailwinds — winds that blow in the same direction as an aircraft and thus make it go faster.

  • Flying west means facing strong headwinds and flying east means getting strong tailwinds, which does the opposite and while taking the (western) Atlantic route to SFO, we usually face headwinds of 24kmph.
  • This means that if aircraft is doing 800kmph, its actual ground speed is 776kmph. Taking the (eastern) Pacific route will mean getting tailwinds of 138kmph, which make the aircraft have an actual ground speed of 938kmph.
  • At 13,900km, the Atlantic route of AI’s Delhi-SFO nonstop flight made it the world’s second-longest after Emirates’ Dubai-Auckland (14,120km).
  • Now, AI’s Pacific route will remain the world’s longest nonstop for two years, till Singapore Airlines launches the mother of all direct flights — Singapore-New York — that will cover 16,500km in 19 hours.

The aircraft took off from Delhi at 4am on Sunday (October 16) morning. We were in that date till Japan. After that, we crossed the international date line and were in October 15. By the time we landed in San Francisco, it was 6.30am on October 16 (local time in SFO).