NEW DELHI – Air India says it has become the first airline to fly around the world with an all-female crew, just ahead of International Women’s Day.
“Air India scripted history by flying an all-women crew flight around the world,” the airline said in a statement on Facebook, after Flight AI 174 touched back down in New Delhi on Friday.
The Boeing 777 flew from New Delhi to San Francisco last Monday, traveling over the Pacific Ocean. The crew completed a mandatory rest period before flying over the Atlantic back to New Delhi, completing the round-the-world trip.
Smiling members of Air India’s crew, wearing saris and jackets, posed for selfies in San Francisco International Airport last Monday before setting off on the final leg of the trip.
Every member of staff — from the flight’s captains to the cabin crew, check-in and ground handling staff — were women. Even the engineers, who certified the aircraft, and air traffic controllers, who cleared its departure and arrival, were women, the company said.
An Air India spokesman told CNN that the airline has applied for a Guinness World Record to mark the occasion, part of a series of all-women flights scheduled to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.
For women in India, sexual assault is all too common.
In 2012, the brutal gang rape of a young woman in the nation’s capital, brought the issue of sexual violence to the fore. In response, the central government quickly passed tougher laws with harsher punishments.
But the number of reported rapes has continued to climb. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of reported rapes in 2015 was 34,651, compared to 24,923 in 2012, suggesting an increase in the reporting rate.
Last month Air India began selling female-only seat sections on its domestic routes to combat in-flight sexual assault. The move came after reports that some women were being groped by male passengers.