Pope Francis will fly with ITA Airways, Italy’s new national carrier, during a trip to Cyprus.
The special flight is due to take off on December 2, 2021, at 11.00 a.m. (UTC+1) from Rome Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) and is scheduled to land at Larnaca International Airport (LCA) at around 3.00 p.m. (UTC+2), Italian media reported.
It will be the first time that the Pope has flown with ITA, the successor to Italy’s former flag carrier Alitalia.
Before the departure, ITA plans to welcome the head of the Catholic Church and its delegation at FCO airport. The carrier revealed that Pope Francis will fly on the company’s Airbus A320 jet, where he will be accompanied by a crew of nine ITA staff members, including three pilots and six cabin crew.
“It is an honor and great pride for us to accompany the Holy Father on his trip to Cyprus,” Fabio Maria Lazzerini, the chief executive officer of ITA, told media.
He continued: “We are a company that puts sustainability at the center of its strategy and this is one more reason to be happy to transport the Holy Father who constantly recalls these values in his words. We started our flight operations just over a month ago and every day we work to be an efficient and innovative carrier and to represent our country, all over the world.”
Previously, in March 2021, the now-defunct Alitalia facilitated Pope Francis’ visit to Baghdad, Iraq, which was the first-ever papal visit to Iraq.
At the time, Alitalia’s A330 aircraft, registered as EI-EJK, embarked on an unusual historical flight from Rome (FCO) to Baghdad (BGW), where Pope Francis visited the local Christian community and called for peace in meetings with political and other religious leaders.
It will be Pope Francis’ second international flight since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.