Air India will re-route its San Francisco services over the Pacific Ocean, the Economic Times reports.
The national carrier first launched flights from Delhi to the Californian city last December, but has until now operated the flight westbound, flying over the Atlantic Ocean. It has now received permission however, to start flying eastbound out of Delhi and over the Pacific Ocean.
The switch, which comes as Air India prepares to double the route’s frequency to six flights per week from November 2016, is expected to reduce the flight time by approximately three hours and cut fuel consumption.
The trans-Pacific route is actually longer than the trans-Atlantic option, but strong tailwinds would allow Air India’s Boeing 777 aircraft to cover the distance faster and more economically.
The Economic Times reported an unnamed Air India official as saying that this represented a “win-win situation” for the airline and its passengers.
Air India will become the only Indian carrier flying across the Pacific. Jet Airways previously operated a Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco service, but this was long since suspended.