Air India Switches Directions To San Francisco — More Speed And Mileage For The Maharaja?

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India's national airline, Air India will now fly eastwards from Delhi to San Francisco over the Pacific Ocean after the Directorate General Of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approved its plans to fly east.

Despite the route being 1,400 kilometres longer than the current route over the Atlantic, Air India states that the new route will faster and more fuel efficient.

The regulatory nod comes as a boost for the national carrier, which would be doubling the frequency of its Delhi-San Francisco direct flights to six per week from November.

By flying eastwards across the Pacific, flights can take advantage of tailwinds that follow the direction of the earth's rotation, which raises the speed and lessens fuel consumption.  Flying westwards into headwinds means that the aircraft has to push harder have to push harder to counter the headwinds.

By taking advantage of the favourable winds, Air India will be able save crores of rupees in fuel costs as travel times will be brought down by between one to three hours depending on the season. This means that the flight to San Francisco from Delhi will now take 16 hours instead of 17 while in the winter, that time could go down by a further two hours. 

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