On 16th August, Air India flew its Boeing 777 aircraft over the North Pole and became India’s first airline to operate commercial flights over the polar region. Delhi-San Francisco flight departed at 4:00 am with about 243 passengers on board and flew over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and the North Pole.
Capt Rajneesh Sharma, one of the two commanders in the two crew set that operated the flight, said, “When we crossed Russia, we left all the air traffic behind. For close to nine hours we saw no traffic, no aircraft, just endless expanse of snow and ice. As we crossed over the North Pole and went down the other side of the planet, the navigation display swung 180 degrees to go from North to South. It was quite a sight.”
The cross-polar route was officially opened to commercial flights in February 2001 by the US aviation regulator, marking an important milestone between North America and Asia air travel.
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