.- The new Vatican-backed airline was launched yesterday. The airline is aiming to be pilgrims’ carrier-of-choice for trips to Catholic shrines and the Holy Land.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini was on the inaugural flight from Rome to Lourdes on Monday, along with other Church officials and dignitaries. The flight featured Vatican logos on headrests and airhostess uniforms, and the airline’s slogan: "I'm Searching for Your Face, Lord."
"We want to create the conditions to enable pilgrims to live their pilgrimage starting at their city's airport and even before they arrive at their destinations," Fr. Caesar Atuire, CEO for the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, told a press conference.
Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi is a group that organizes pilgrimages for the Diocese of Rome.
The five-year agreement between Mistral Air, a small airline owned by the Italian post office, and Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi will include flights leaving from seven Italian airports.
The airline will aim to keep fares low though details on schedules and fares are still being discussed. Destinations will include Fatima, Lourdes, Santiago de Compostela, the Holy Land, Czestochowa, and Sinai, Egypt.
It expects serve about 150,000 passengers a year on its chartered Boeing 737.