Philippine flag carrier airline flies Pope Francis back home: Facts on Shepherd One

A Philippine Air Lines Airbus 340 was chosen to carry the world leader of Roman Catholic church as he go back to Vatican City. The chartered flight took off 10:12 this morning at Villamor Airbase, Pasay City.

It is the tradition of a Pope to take a chartered flight of Alitalia, flag carrier of Italy, when visiting a nation and return on a plane of the flag carrier airline of the visited nation. The Pope’s chartered flight has a call sign “volo papa” or papal flight. It is also being referred to as Shepherd One in contrast with the most popular US state head jet, the Air Force One.

In the case of Pope Francis’ state and pastoral visit to Philippines, he was taken by Sri Lankan airline instead of Italia’s flag carrier airline because he first went to Sri Lanka before coming to Philippines.