NEW DELHI: Air India has set a new record for the world's longest non-stop flight. India's national carrier last week flew its new route from New Delhi to San Francisco, covering a distance of around 15,140 km in 14 hours and 30 minutes, according to Air India's Captain Rajneesh Sharma who was the commander on the flight's trans-Pacific route.
Flight AI173 traveled across the Pacific instead of the conventional route across the Atlantic. This added an estimated 1,400 km more to the flight route, but meant that the flight took around two hours less to complete. According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, Air India took advantage of tailwinds offered by the jet stream on the new route, which helped to increase its speed.
Air India's previous route between Delhi and San Francisco flew via a polar routing according to Flightradar24, passing north over the North Pole and then south through Canada. Its new route flies east instead through China and then over the North Pacific Ocean.
In a video posted on YouTube by Air India, Captain Sharma said that they had "saved about 13 tons of fuel, compared to the Atlantic (route)", thus reducing their carbon footprint. He added that Air India would be flying this new route for the next six months.
The previous global record for the longest non-stop flight was held by Emirates, with its 16-and-a-half hour, 14,200 km Dubai-Auckland route, according to Quartz.