The world’s first “Christian-based airline” says they’ll launch by summer. Judah 1 currently has a single McDonnell Douglas MD MD83 aircraft and intends to operate from North Texas Regional Airport sixty miles Northeast of Dallas Fort-Worth. Their intended market is missionaries “and support efforts across the world.” They have plans for a Boeing 767 — and to eventually acquire 20 aircraft by 2024.
Credit: Judah 1
So is there demand for something like this?
- A Christian airline might have been necessary as an alternative had either Hooters Air or Naked Air ever really taken off. In the current environment though I think we’re all already praying every time we have to deal with one of the major US airlines, so it’s not clear an airline whose motto is “Your Hands, God’s LOVE, Our Wings” serves an unmet need.
- On the other hand there may be unmet investor interest. I seem to recall that Southwest Airlines founding President Lamar Muse relayed the story in his book Southwest Passage that one of the carrier’s original investors committed funds on the promise that they would install glass ceilings in their aircraft so that passengers could look up at heaven.
They have a single MD83 at this point yet most mission trips are international. Indeed the airline sees its mission as spreading “the message of the Lord to billions of people, via flight” they have both said they no plans to expand internationally and mentioned the possibility of close-in international flights within the MD83’s range — but not flying where there are actually billions of people.
At the same time mission trips tend to be seasonal (when students are out of school) and most mission groups smaller than what an MD83 carries.
Perhaps they can keep costs especially low if it turns out that televangelist Kenneth Copeland is correct that G-d performs aircraft maintenance. Costs will need to be low since they’ve committed to no checked bag fees.
With “regular prices similar to its secular competitors” but lower fees and a willingess to “only accept members of mission teams” they’re limiting both revenue and customer base. They do say hope springs eternal, after all.
The airline’s CEO Everett 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.
My question for Mr. Aaron is this: what does the Lord’s voice sound like, and will he try to replicate it for inflight announcements?
Here’s their promotional video from 2015: