Pope chooses Sri Lankan Airlines

MANILA, Philippines—Pope Francis arrives in the Philippines on Thursday aboard the flagship carrier of Sri Lanka, the first stop of his two-country Asian visit.

To accompany him in the Sri Lankan Airlines flight will be his delegation of Vatican officials and journalists from different countries including the Philippines.

Pope Francis, of course, had the option to fly the Italian carrier Alitalia, whose name is a fusion of the words “ali,” meaning wings, and “Italia.” But he chose to fly the Sri Lankan Airlines.

The papal aerial service is an ordinary plane set aside from the passenger operations’ normal schedule. The pilots and cabin crew are also employees of Alitalia.

Pope Francis, as did previous Vatican heads of state, flies via Alitalia to and from Vatican, but can opt for the flag carrier of the host country he’s visiting.

The Vatican Secretariat and other officials of the Holy See accompany the pope in his travels.

As a citizen of Argentina, Pope Francis still uses Argentinian passport.

Originally posted at 5:00 pm | Wednesday, January 14, 2014

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