The first-ever Christian airline expects to have FAA certification as a part 121 air carrier and launch commercial service in 2021. Judah 1 had promise a 2019 launch, but the project took longer than expected, and they find themselves planning to start sales of tickets in the middle of a global pandemic.
When we last checked in with Judah 1 they owned a McDonnell Douglas MD83 aircraft and planned to operate from North Texas Regional Airport, 60 miles Northeast of DFW airport. They’re now based out of Shreveport Regional Airport in Louisiana.
Credit: Judah 1
Judah 1 has added a Boeing 767-200ER to their fleet. The first of 121 total 767-200ERs went into service 36 years ago. The planes typically seat about 180 passengers. The Judah 1 aircraft will seat a very egalitarian 238. They have big expansion plans as well. President and CEO Everett Aaron expects to add 2 or 3 large aircraft before the end of 2021.
The airline sees its mission as spreading “the message of the Lord to billions of people, via flight.” It’s certainly understandable for an airline to cater to the significant Christian missionary market but I’m not sure it makes sense for an airline to limit itself to serving only this market – especially because mission trips tend to be seasonal (such as when students are out of school) and most mission groups are smaller than what a Boeing 767 carries, even factoring cargo.
On the other hand,
- As anyone who tried to get a refund from United Airlines or JetBlue this year knows, we’re all already praying every time we have to deal with one of the major US airlines – so an airline whose motto is “Your Hands, God’s LOVE, Our Wings” serves an unmet need.
- The first major Southwest Airlines investor wanted the new carrier to install skylights in its aircraft so that passengers could look up at heaven. It’s probably possible to find investors to subsidize the idea.
CEO Aaron says his plan was divinely inspired in 1994:
The Lord spoke to me about using my passion for aviation – specifically large aircraft, I saw rows and rows of aircraft, full of food and supplies, lines of them.
Here’s their promotional video from 2015:
With “regular prices similar to its secular competitors” but lower fees and a willingness to “only accept members of mission teams” they’re limiting both revenue and customer base. They do say hope springs eternal, after all.