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All-women Indian pilot crew make history by completing country's longest commercial flight

January 11, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 49.5%. 2 min read.

Air India's Boeing 777 aircraft at the India Aviation 2010 conference at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad, ?? India on Thursday, March 04, 2010 Photograph by Namas Bhojani / Bloomberg News

An all-female Indian pilot team made history this week, after they completed the longest non-stop commercial flight ever operated by an Indian national airline.

The team of four cockpit crew members from Air India completed the 17-hour-long flight on Monday according a statement released by the airline.

"We are India's daughters who were given the opportunity to make this historic flight," the commander of the flight, Captain Zoya Aggarwal, who flew the first leg of the flight, told CNN Travel.

"The view from the North Pole is superb," said her co-pilot, Captain Thanmei Papagari, who flew the second half, adding that as women, they "had a point to prove that we can do the job. "

Air India flight 176 -- a Boeing 777 -- departed from San Francisco on January 11, and arrived in Bengaluru, in southern India, on Monday at 3. 07am India Standard Time (4. 37pm ET), covering a distance of more than 8,600 miles, according to the statement.

It is also the first flight from South India to be connected directly with the United States, according to a statement from Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB), where the flight landed.

"This is the first non-stop flight between Bengaluru and the United States, connecting the world's two tech hubs and sister cities -- the original Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley of India," the KIAB statement said.

"After graduating college, I was jobless for a very long time, as there were no jobs for women pilots," said Aggarwal.

Aggarwal, who has more than 10 years of experience, said that her parents initially opposed her becoming a pilot.

"[This flight] will create more opportunities for women," said Papagari.

India's aviation sector heavily invests in training women to become pilots.

About 12% of the country's pilots are women -- the highest percentage in the world, according to the Centre for Aviation.

In 2017, Air India said it became the first airline to fly around the world with an all-female crew.

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