Will Air-India fly further than any other airline with its 777-200LRs?

In news that is more about global shifts in economic power than aviation Air-India is planning non-stop 777-200LR flights between Bengaluru and San Francisco.

This Times of India report doesn’t give a start date but says it could be announced by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits ‘Silicon Valley’ (in the Santa Clara Valley area and beyond) later this week.

At a perfect great circle distance of 14,003 kilometres between BLR and SFO, this would become the world’s longest non-stop scheduled passenger service, exceeding by a small margin the Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth services flown by a Qantas A380 and the Dubai-Panama City route that Emirates launches from 1 February with a 777-200LR.

All of which would be eclipsed by Singapore Airlines restoring its Newark (for New York) to Singapore Airline nonstops perhaps as soon as 2018 with an A350.  In an act of self harm, Singapore Airlines damaged its US trade in 2013 by cancelling that route which was operated by a A340-500s, before the fuel price collapsed.

The flight times for the Bengaluru- San Francisco service are quoted as around 17 hours. The great circle routes between Bengaluru or New Delhi and Silicon Valley in theory track directly across the highest concentration of Himalayan peaks, but that wouldn’t it is understood meet the operational requirements for safe single engine flight at reduced altitude over that terrain so early in a long range flight by a heavy twin engined jet.

Because of that, and the opportunity to capture useful tailwinds on the higher polar latitude sections of the flights, the actual routes flown would vary considerably over a year.

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