Air India plane flies over the world’s highest route in the world to save fuel and time


Tata-owned Air India aircraft have started flying from ‘Hindu Kush’, one of the world’s highest routes for US (North America) and Europe operations, cutting flight time and saving fuel. Since the closure of Afghanistan’s airspace, Air India operates flights from India to the Western countries through the Hindu Kush route. “Hindu Kush is one of the world’s highest air routes and Hindu Kush route starts saving time and fuel,” an airline official on anonymity told ANI.

Recently, Air India Toronto to Delhi flight operated on the Hindu Kush route on December 16. AI deploys a set of four pilots to the Toronto route last week. Captains Zoya Agarwal, R Someshwar, Sandeep Mukhedkar and Abhay Agarwal senior commander of AI’s Boeing B777 call sign (VT-ALQ Manipur) over the Hindu Kush.

“This route is challenging because since it is the highest route to fly in the world, there are many challenging procedures that you will have to complete in case of any emergency or technical issue and all the procedures are well thought out and are employed keeping safety paramount. In case anything goes wrong we are flying over the Hindukush region which is the highest area to fly in all over the world,” one of the four pilots told ANI.

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Captain Zoya Agarwal, who is the only woman pilot in the group, created history by flying the first North Pole (San Francisco to Bengaluru) flight. “First woman commander to be a Part of 4-member cockpit crew that operated B777 call sign ‘VT-ALQ Manipur’ Toronto-Delhi flying over the Hindu Kush ranges on December 16 who also was the first to operate SFO-BLR inaugural taking the polar route on Jan 9, 2021, on a B777 ‘ER-ALQ Kerala’,” airline officials informed.

After closing off Afghanistan airspace, Indian carriers spent 9.5 hours from Delhi to Heathrow (London) via southern Pakistan. After using Hindu Kush Himalayan range route, Air India saved around one hour and 2.5 tonnes of fuel. The flight time was 8.5 hours. For Indian carriers, the Hindu Kush route will be a very economical operation in comparison to the traditional route via Afghanistan.

“The Hindu Kush Himalayan range route will save flying time and fuel upto 5 tonnes it depends on wind speed and direction,” an Air India official said. The Hindu Kush route means soaring over Tirich Mir (7,780 m or 25,525 ft) – the world’s highest peak outside the Himalaya-Karakoram range.

“Flying close to this Tirich mir making this route very critical,” an AI pilot told ANI. As per aircraft structure, the B-777 can fly to a maximum altitude of over 30,000 ft fully loaded with passengers and fuel, and over 35,000 ft with the B-787 Dreamliner.

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