Air India’s longest nonstop flight between San Francisco and Bengaluru will be operated by an all-women cockpit crew on its inauguration on January 9. Four highly-experienced women pilots — Zoya Agrawal, Sonwane Akanksha, Thanmai Papagari and Shivani Manhas — have been selected by the national carrier to fly a Boeing 777-200. It will be the first direct scheduled flight between the United States and south India.

“Two sets of two pilots each operate our ultra-long flights by turn. Besides the four pilots, our head of flight safety, a senior woman commander, will also be on board. While it depends on weather conditions of the day, we are planning the B777 will fly over the north pole en route Bengaluru,” a senior Air India official told The Times of India.

The four pilots operated the Delhi-SFO flight late on Wednesday with the airlines’ executive director of flight safety Captain Nivedita Bhasin.

The distance of the Bengaluru-SFO flight is more than 14,000 km, which is about 1,000 km more than the Delhi-SFO route. It was the Pacific route that the women pilots took from Delhi to San Francisco. However, the inaugural flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru will take the Atlantic route over North Pole.

The United Airlines will also start operating a direct flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru on May 6, 2021. It will be the longest route operated by any US carrier, and the third-longest in the world.

Besides the Bengaluru-SFO route, Air India is also starting a twice-weekly nonstop flight from Hyderabad to Chicago. Twice a week, Air India will operate a B777 200LR on Delhi-SFO-Bengaluru-SFO-Delhi route and a B777 300 (extended range) on the Delhi-Chicago-Hyderabad-Chicago-Delhi route.