A non-profit touting itself as the first Christian airline in the world could soon be taking flight.
The organization is called Judah 1 and aims to offer flights for missionaries across the world, the Herald Democrat reports.
“This is not just a typical airline. This is not schedule routes and we are not taking people from Dallas to Vegas. That is not what this is about,” Judah 1 founder Everett Aaron said. “All of this is about missionaries and giving back and helping the world become a better place. That’s what we are about.”
Originally, the airline had planned to operate as a private charter, but due to Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, doing so would limit the organization to only working with five other organizations. So, Aaron applied to run an airline instead.
The non-profit will provide tickets to individuals as well as groups. Judah 1, which plans to be based at North Texas Regional Airport in Denison, Texas, will also offer flights to “partner organizations,” including the Make A Wish Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project.
According to a study from the Center of Global Christianity, there are 440,000 Christian missionaries in the world. While it is unknown how many of those are Americans, potential groups that could utilize Judah 1 include Baptist Medical, Kids Against Hunger, and Dental Mission International. Dental Mission sends an estimated 4,000 missionaries on trips throughout the world each year.
Aaron originally planned to operate the airline from the Fort Worth’s Alliance Airport, but efforts to get off the ground stalled as Alliance largely deals with cargo planes rather than passenger aircraft.
The airline currently has three aircraft: a McDonnell Douglas MD83, a Falcon 900B, and a Cessna 414. A Boeing 767 can also be used. The planes can fly between 1 and 140 people, plus cargo.
The non-profit currently works out of the Lake Texoma Jet Center but told the Herald Democrat that they have plans for building an 85,000 sq ft. facility at NTRA. Judah 1 hopes to be in business by July 2019, though plans were initially set to begin flying in January. The change over to become an airline is responsible for the delay, Aaron said.