Words by Hugh Morris
Air India will launch a new route in December, linking the tech cities of New Delhi and San Francisco, the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced on a trip to Silicon Valley.
The 12,343-kilometre flight will run three times a week, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and take about 16 hours.
After finishing a speech at the SAP Centre in California, Mr Modi left the stage only to return to the microphone to announce the route. “Oh, I forgot to share one good news,” he said.
It was rumoured that India’s national carrier was going to operate a service from Bangalore to San Francisco, a route which would have earned it the title of world’s longest non-stop flight, at about 14,000 kilometres and 18 hours flying time.
Such a route would have trumped the planned Emirates route between Dubai and Panama City, which is set to become the world’s longest flight (about 13,800 kilometres) when it begins in February
However, Air India’s flight to San Francisco does not even make the top 10 flight distances. The current longest flight is Qantas’s 17-hour trip from Dallas to Sydney, at 8.890 kilometres.
Mr Modi’s visit to the west coast city was the first to California by an Indian head of state since 1982, and was used to peddle the virtues of India’s developing tech economy as well as reach out to the tens of thousands of Indians who work in Silicon Valley.
The New Delhi-San Francisco service will be flown in a Boeing 777-200 LR (Long Range) plane. Air India already operates routes to New York, Newark and Chicago.
A senior Air India official was quoted in the Times of India saying the airline was also planning a direct service between London and Ahmedabad.
This article was written by Hugh Morris from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.