Mumbai: Taking a new flight path that will save time as well as fuel, Air India will start flying to San Francisco from the national capital over the Polar region.
With the new route, the flight duration would reduce by around one-and-a-half hours and fuel savings would be in the range of 2,000 to 7,000 kg per flight, according to an Air India spokesperson.
The flight duration will reduce from 14.5 hours to 13 hours. The inaugural flight will be on August 15. Air India operates a daily flight from New Delhi to San Francisco.
The airline has flights between India and North America over the Atlantic and the Pacific routes.
“Polar routes between India and North American destinations are yet to be utilised. Situated on opposite sides of the Northern Hemisphere, India and North America would benefit immensely by using existing North Polar routes for commercial air operations,” the airline said in a release.
The fuel savings are expected be in the region of 2,000 to 7,000 kg on these routes with the resultant decrease in carbon emission of 6,000 to 21,000 kg per flight, it said.
On August 15, the inaugural revenue flight over the Polar region would be piloted by Captain Rajneesh Sharma and Captain Digvijay Singh.
“Passengers will benefit from the reduced flight times, the airline from the reduced fuel consumption and the environment from reduced carbon emissions,” the release added.
There would be around 300 passengers on the flight which would be operated by a Boeing 777, the spokesperson said.
Earlier this month, aviation regulator DGCA came out with the requirements that need to the fulfilled by airlines for Polar operations.
Careful risk analysis has been conducted and crew training, weather monitoring, alternate selection and aircraft serviceability have been enhanced to ensure safe operations on this route, Air India said.
Approvals are in place from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The airline also said a reputed diversion support agency would assist in aircraft and passenger retrieval in case of diversion.
According to the spokesperson, Air India would be the first airline in the world that would have flights over Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Polar region.
About the flight over the Polar region, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani said it is a tremendous unparalleled initiative by the national carrier that would save precious fuel and also reduce travel time for its flights to the US.
“The passengers of the first flight would be given a commemorative certificate,” he said in a separate statement. As per Air India, in 2007, the airline flew a Boeing 777 over the Polar region under the command of Captain Amitabh Singh.