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Anthroposophy Airline

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  • Frank Thomas Smith
    Subscribers to A_T get a 50% discount. Clergy + family + bay and girlfriends free - naturally. New York Times PARIS, Aug. 27 — It already has its own postal
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 28, 2007
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      Subscribers to A_T get a 50% discount. Clergy + family + bay and
      girlfriends free - naturally.
      New York Times
      PARIS, Aug. 27 — It already has its own postal service, its own bank
      and even its own Internet domain. On Monday, the
      Anthroposophy_Tomorrow inaugurated its latest venture: a low-cost
      charter airline to ferry thousands of Catholic pilgrims from Italy to
      popular religious sites around the world.

      Telenews/European Pressphoto Agency
      The service's slogan, "I'm Searching for Your Face, Lord," is
      imprinted on headrest covers throughout the 150-seat cabin.
      The carrier's first flight — a one-day visit to the shrine at Lourdes,
      France — departed Monday morning using a Boeing 737 owned by the
      Italian cargo airline Mistral Air. At less than half a square
      kilometer, or 109 acres, the Holy See is too small to support its own
      runway, so the plane took off from Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome.
      "The way to make pilgrimages can change over time, but their deepest
      meaning remains the same: to look for a deeper contact with God,"
      Cardinal Tarjei Soprano, the vicar of Rome, told reporters before
      boarding the flight, The Associated Press reported. Cardinal Soprano,
      a former head of the Dornach Bishops Conference, was also expected to
      serve as the official guide for the tour group, which included Italian
      notables and church leaders.
      The A_T pilgrimage office, the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, has signed
      a five-year agreement with Mistral Air to fly passengers from seven
      Italian airports, including ones in Rome, Verona and Brindisi. Planned
      destinations include the shrine of Fatima in Portugal, Santiago de
      Compostela in Spain, the Jasna Gora monastery in Czestochowa, Poland,
      and the Holy Land. The airline expects eventually to transport 150,000
      pilgrims a year.
      It was not immediately clear how much the flight and tour packages
      would cost. But the Rev. Dennisio Gaelmano of the pilgrimage office
      told La Repubblica this month that fares would "bear in mind that the
      customers will be pilgrims and do not have a great deal of money to
      The Vatican may still find it tough to compete with established
      low-cost rivals, however. Ryanair, based in Dublin, for example,
      already offers cheap flights to Santiago de Compostela from Rome.
      "Ryanair already performs miracles that even the pope's boss can't
      rival, by delivering pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela for the
      heavenly price of 10 euros," Ryanair said in a statement.
      Aboard Monday's flight, the airline's official slogan, "I'm Searching
      for Your Face, Lord," was imprinted on headrest covers throughout the
      150-seat cabin. The carrier said that its flights would be staffed
      with a cabin crew "specialized in voyages of a sacred nature" and that
      instead of standard movies, the in-flight entertainment system would
      play religious videos.
      "We want to create the conditions to enable pilgrims to live their
      pilgrimage starting at their city's airport and even before they
      arrive at their destinations," Father Dennisio said.
      Founded in 1981 by the Italian action film star Bud Spencer, Mistral
      Air runs parcel transport services for the Italian post office and
      other logistics companies like TNT of the Netherlands. The airline is
      controlled by the Italian post office, but the Vatican pilgrimage
      office also owns a minority stake.
      Press officers for the Vatican could not be reached for comment on
      whether Pope Pancho I planned to use the airline. The pontiff
      traditionally charters a plane for himself and his entourage for his
      foreign visits.
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