Pope Francis Chooses TAP for Return Journey to the Vatican

From his home in the Vatican, the Argentina-born Pope Francis flies globally to represent the Catholic Church and meet followers and representatives of the state and other religious denominations. On the ground, he has a specially designed ‘popemobile’.

Designed Popemobile
The ‘Popemobile’ for on-ground transit © Wikimedia Commons

How Does Pope Francis Travel Through The air?

The Pope travels with a very small entourage of roughly 30 persons when compared to other international leaders. Pope Francis does not own a private jet, like an Air Force 1 for the President of the USA. Since frequent papal trips to countries other than Italy have become common, the Vatican often hires a jet for the Pope’s travels.

The size of the aircraft will vary depending on how far the trip is. Traditionally, an Airbus A320 or A321 has been selected for the job on short- and medium-distance flights. Previously overseen by the previous Italian flag airline Alitalia, this prestigious responsibility has since been handed to ITA Airways.

Alitalia Airbus A320
© Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis Flies With TAP

TAP Air Portugal is proud to have been selected to transport His Holiness, Pope Francis, back to the Vatican following his visit to Portugal as part of World Youth Day.

The choice of TAP to fly the Pope back to Rome on August 6 is especially significant for the company and an honour for all of its employees, who will once more work to improve Portugal’s reputation through the welcome, friendliness, and high-quality service that define the national carrier.


His Holiness Pope Francis has flown with TAP to Rome twice in the past, both times following visits to  Portugal. The initial visit took place in May 2017 following His Holiness’ pastoral visit to Fátima.

His Holiness Pope Francis

This will continue to be a remarkable and incredibly prestigious flight for TAP, which has already had the honour of transporting three other Popes during their visits to Portugal throughout its more than 78-year history, including Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II on two occasions, in 1982 and 1991, and Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

Would we see a Private jet like the US Air Force 1 for the Pope in the Future? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

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Samuel Ayobami Ojerinola
Samuel Ayobami Ojerinola
Aviation Reporter - With a deep background in travel including previous work for LoveHolidays, Omega and HRG, Samuel contributes news and analysis here at Travel Radar. Samuel also holds a BA degree in Travel & Tourism Management from the University of West London.