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50 years of collaboration between Alitalia and The Holy See. Tomorrow Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Holy Land with Alitalia

Rome, 23 May 2014 - 1964- 2014, for 50 years Alitalia has been chosen by the Holy See for the Pope's apostolic travels around the world. 
Alitalia is honoured to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis tomorrow on board its flight and to accompany him on his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the most symbolic place of all, the first destination of  papal flights starting with Paul VI in 1964, and where Alitalia has also accompanied John Paul II (2000) and Benedict XVI (2009).
The collaboration between Alitalia and the Holy See began precisely with the historic journey to the Holy Land by Paul VI in 1964 aboard the Alitalia DC8. The organisation of the apostolic journeys of John Paul II was particularly intense. Throughout the 27 years of his pontificate over one hundred flights have taken him to 127 countries, on all continents, from Papua New Guinea to Australia, from Kazakhstan to Armenia, from Burkina Faso to Senegal, from Norway to Latvia, from Uruguay to Chile, from the U.S. to Mexico. The trips to South Africa and Cuba were particularly significant as well as the meetings with the heads of state, Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro. 
Benedict XVI did twenty-four apostolic journeys, from the first trip to Cologne, in Germany -his homeland-, on the occasion of the World Youth Day in 2005, until the visit to Lebanon in September 2012, five months prior to his historic renunciation.
The Pilgrimage to the Holy Land is the second apostolic journey of Pope Francis, after the one which took place in Brazil on 22nd July 2013 when, to the amazement of all present, he climbed the aircraft’s steps, carrying his own hand luggage.
The flight to the Holy Land of His Holiness Pope Francis will be carried out with an Airbus A321 Alitalia named "Piazza del Duomo, Lecce" which will take off from Rome Fiumicino airport tomorrow, 24th May at 08.15 am. The flight will land at the international airport of Amman at 13:00 (local time) and proceed in the evening (departure 21:00) from Amman to Tel Aviv, with journalists and members of the Delegation on board, to arrive at 21:40 local time.
On board the Alitalia Papal Flight, in addition to His Holiness Pope Francis and the papal delegation, representatives of the Italian and international media will be present.
The crew will have three pilots: a Captain Supervisor of the flight, Roberto Germano, Director of Alitalia Flight Operations, a Captain on duty, and a First Officer.  There will be 6 flight attendants, chosen for their total professionalism and dedication throughout their professional career. In addition, the special flights team will also be on board the Alitalia Airbus "Piazza del Duomo, Lecce."
On the occasion of the pilgrimage of Pope Francis in the Holy Land and the canonisation of John XXIII and John Paul II, Alitalia, sponsored by the Holy See, displays in their own lounge at Fiumicino airport a photographic exhibition, with the 50 most significant images of the history of papal flights. Amongst them: Paul VI to the Holy Land aboard the Alitalia DC8 in 1964; the photo showing the visit of John Paul II to the hangar at Fiumicino in 1991, the photographs of visits to the cockpit of Joseph Ratzinger on the occasion of the African travel to Angola (2009) and Benin (2011); also pictures of the apostolic visit of Pope Francis in Brazil on 22 July 2013 and many more.
The photographs, Alitalia’s historical archives as well as the ones from the Osservatore Romano are on display at the lounges Dolce Vita (Terminal 1), Borromini (boarding area, gate D) and Giotto (Terminal 3). Access to these lounges is open to all Freccia Alata members, passengers holding Magnifica Business Class tickets (intercontinental flights), as well as Ottima Business Class tickets (international flights).
Are exposed in the Alitalia lounge, apart from the photographs, the papal coat of arms that is applied to the livery of the aircraft; various books about the apostolic journeys; vintage magazines; brochures featuring details of the flights route; the headrests with the embroidered papal logo.
With the journey of His Holiness Pope Francis in the Holy Land, the collaboration between the Holy See and Alitalia continues. The carrier has, in recent years, accompanied the Benedict XVI Emeritus in Lebanon, Africa (Cameroon , Angola and Benin), in the Holy Land, to Prague, Malta, and Cyprus, Lisbon, in the UK (Edinburgh and London), in Santiago de Compostela, Zagreb, Madrid, Berlin, and in Latin America (Mexico and Cuba).
Alitalia is honoured to be the airline chosen by the Holy See for the apostolic travels of His Holiness abroad and to put at the service of the papal delegation its reliability and the quality of its services.