Air India’s New Delhi to San Francisco flight could be the first Indian airline to fly over the North Pole. Quite a few international airlines use the North Pole route, but none of the Indian airlines have ever used it.

It all started when the Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Aviation Authority of India, issued a circular asking if Indian airlines were interested in flying over the North Pole and Air India showed interest.

The advantage of flying over the North Pole is that it saves fuel and time. Currently, the New Delhi to San Francisco flight is via Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and Japan before crossing the Pacific to enter the United States of America. This route takes 17 hours of flight time to reach the destination.

However, the new route would save 90 minutes and bring travel time to 15.5 hours. This route would include flying over Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, the Arctic Ocean, Canada and then entering the United States.

The current flight route is approximately 12,000 km and with the new route it will be 8,000 km. However, the North Pole route is only being considered for flights from New Delhi to San Francisco, as in other cases it would increase the flight time instead of reducing it.

The circular published by the DGCA on August 6, 2019 also states: “In order for an operator to apply for a license to operate in the polar regions, a route study must be carried out to define the requirements for transpolar flight routes. The operator applies for the Authorization to fly in the polar regions must develop plans to prepare all polar flights in the north and / or south pole regions. “

It also states that the operator’s plan for conducting operations in these areas must include alternative airports for emergency landings and diversions while in flight with the polar region, among other things.

Air India could use the route from the end of August.

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