NEW DELHI (AP) — India's national carrier Air India marked International Women's Day with an all-female crew operating the world's longest regularly scheduled direct flight, from New Delhi to San Francisco.

Air India Chief Ashwini Lohani described the 17-hour flight as a "symbol of women's empowerment."

The entire flight operation — from pilots Kshamta Bajpayee and Shubhangi Singh and their co-pilots to the cabin crew, check-in staff and ground handling staff — was handled by women, the airline said in a statement.

Every year Air India celebrates International Women's Day by deploying female crews on some domestic and international routes. It has about 13,000 employees, including more than 3,700 women.

Indian budget airline Spice Jet flew 10 flights with all-women crews on Tuesday to mark International Women's Day.