Rome, April 15, 2016 – Pope Francis is set to take off from Rome on Saturday morning at 7am, for his Apostolic Journey to Lesbos (Greece), on Alitalia flight AZ4000. On the island, the Holy Father together with Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, will be meeting a delegation of refugees. Pope Francis will be greeted at Fiumicino airport by the Italian airline’s Chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, and by CEO Cramer Ball. The landing at Mytilene airport is scheduled for 10.20am (local time) and the return flight will take off at 3.15pm (local time), arriving at Rome Ciampino at 4.30pm.
The papal flight will be operated by an Airbus A320. The Holy Father will be accompanied by three pilots and six flight attendants. Besides the papal delegation, representatives of both the Italian and international press will be travelling on board, where they will be welcomed by the Alitalia team dedicated to special flights. Alitalia has been the airline of choice for Apostolic Journeys abroad since 1964, when Pope Paul VI visited the Holy Land. The journey to Greece will be the 154th Apostolic flight with the Italian air company. Operations will be supervised by the Captain, Paolo La Cava (46, from Milan, with a passion for off-road vehicles). Sharing cockpit duties will be Captain Massimiliano Bernardini (50, from Rome, married with two children, with a computer studies degree and a post-graduate qualification in artificial intelligence. He has extensive flying experience, amounting to 9,500 hours). They will be joined by First Officer Alessandro Bovi (45, from Rome, with one child, and 11,000 flying hours).