Airline Dedicates Service To Faithful
MIAMI (AP) _ With a wing and a prayer, A. Ari Marshall is trying to form a new airline that will cater to religious passengers bound for the Holy Land.
Murals of Jerusalem and the Ten Commandments in Hebrew and English will grace the walls of his one-plane airline, while flight attendants will tote Bibles to hand out to Christians and Torahs to Jews. Alcohol will be forbidden.
″The Israelis have their own airline. The Arabs have their own airline. Why shouldn’t the Lord have an airline?″ asked Marshall, who wants to call it The Lord’s Airline and has already painted that name on his plane.
The 51-year-old, born-again Christian is a native of Turkey. He has been trying to get his airline airborne since 1980. However, Marshall didn’t acquire his plane - a 24-year-old DC-8 jetliner from Air Canada - until this year.
If he receives the necessary certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Marshall plans to start flying passengers from Miami to the Middle East Holy Lands on Christmas Eve. He said he’ll charge $1,000 for the round-trip flight, and is convinced his flights will be filled.
″We intend to fly full,″ Marshall said. ″We won’t have a single seat empty as long as people know we will be existing and flying.″
Marshall said he will operate his 186-seat plane three times a week to Tel Aviv via Luxembourg.
The plane, named the Spirit of Jerusalem, is scheduled to be doused with water from the Jordan River at its dedication Nov. 20.
″It seems like it will fulfill an important function in terms of getting people of different faiths to travel to the Holy Lands. It can help strengthen the cradle of all of the religions,″ said Rabbi Soloman Schiff, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami. ″The only thing I can hope is they are not using the Lord’s name in vain.″