MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines will be the official carrier of Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines in January.
Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Manila on January 15 for the four-day visit.
In a statement, the Lucio Tan-led airline said it will fly the Pope to Tacloban on the morning of January 17, 2015. The Pope is scheduled to visit the city and meet with victims of super typhoon Yolanda.
PAL said it was the only carrier with experience in VIP flight handling experience.
The airline will also fly Pope Francis from Manila to Rome at the end of his visit on January 19.
On two occasions in the past, PAL hosted Pope John Paul II during his 1981 and 1995 pastoral visits to the Philippines.
In 1981, PAL flew Pope John Paul to six provincial stations within three days. A special Papal chamber was fitted on the DC-10 aircraft that flew him to Guam and Haneda after his visit.
In 1995, PAL again flew Pope John Paul II to Port Moresby after a four-day visit that was restricted to Manila for health reasons.
PAL has also kept a collection of memorabilia of inflight items used by Pope John Paul II, who is now a saint, on his flights.