Unlike other countries around the world, the Vatican has a fleet of own aircraft to travel to their head of state, in this case the Pope. So in international travel, hire a plane Alitalia for the outbound flight, the airline and travel in the country visited flies to Rome. Sometimes, however, has broken the tradition, and both the outbound and inbound is done on Alitalia aircraft. When internal flights within the country visited on their travels, these are operated by government or by the ‘flag carrier’ country aircraft.
Alitalia flights are made aircraft carrier without any special comfort. In fact, the crew is from the airline. Alitalia usually takes for one day one of its aircraft fleet, and the next day it is new operating scheduled flights without passengers on these flights following even suspect that a day before that was the ‘papal plane’. Given that the Pope has the character of ‘Bishop of Rome’, flights usually depart from Fiumicino Airport, while flying back to Ciampino.
Usually the first row is reserved for the pope, while other members of the Vatican traveling in the back rows. The rest of the plane is occupied by reporters, usually between 60 and 70, who pay higher values for their quota on these flights. For example, in the journey of Francis I to World Youth Day held in Brazil in May 2013, reporters had to pay 3,331 euros, or $ 4,515 per seat, traveling in economy class. This is the cost of a passage in Business on the same route on a scheduled flight, but for journalists presents a good opportunity to be in the place of the news, have some logistical facilities, and occasionally have the opportunity for dialogue with Pope, as was the return flight trip to Brazil above.
While traditionally the return flight and domestic flights, is operated by the ‘flag carrier’ of the country visited, sometimes Alitalia is the same which is also responsible for this journey. Such was the case of the same trip to Brazil in 2013, in which the Italian airline used an A330, and a trip to Edinburgh in 2010 made an A320. In the latter case, the official version is that they decided to make two trips to the A320 Alitalia because considering that the trip was so short, leaving out cheap tickets in Edinburgh that use a different tickets for each flight, more considering that coincided with a strike by British Airways staff. Others believe that the decision to go back in Alitalia was a response to the controversy, then a recent, related to the prohibition of a crucifix by a British airline stewardess.
The airlines have the honor of carrying the Pope back to Italy see this as an investment in public relations, and in several cases also make adjustments to the aircraft to improve the comfort of the pontiff. Checking, found flights on Aeromexico and Mexicana in one visit of John Paul II to Mexico, MEA, El Al, TWA, LOT, among many others. When he traveled to Colombia in 1986, visiting 10 cities in seven days, apparently traveled both Avianca and aircraft which at that time consisted, more specifically a Fokker-28 presidential fleet. Also investigating found that in 1968 Paul VI to Colombia, both the outward and return journeys, a B707-300 Avianca, called ‘Sucre’. Who knows how many times have happened that Alitalia does not participate in any of the routes of international travel of the Pope.