The Federal Aviation Authority recently granted permission for a North Texas nonprofit to launch a new airline whose focus would be transporting Christian missionaries to remote places across the globe.
The airline, dubbed Judah 1, is touted as the world's first Christian airline, according to the Sherman (Texas) Herald Democrat.
"This is not just a typical airline," Everett Aaron, founder of Judah 1, told the Herald Democrat in a recent interview.
The airline, based out of North Texas Regional Airport (NTRA) in Grayson County, plans to sell its flights to individuals and groups who are traveling to fulfill their God-given call. Grayson County is about 60 miles north of Dallas.
"All of this is about missionaries and giving back and helping the world become a better place," Aaron said. "That's what we are about."
Where did Aaron get the idea for the airline?
The idea for Judah 1 first came to Aaron in 1994 following a prayer time.
"In the vision, He showed me airline, aircraft lined up as far as you can see," Aaron explained. "They were full of food, medical supplies, Bibles, the engines were fired up and they were ready to go. There were people lined up in front of these planes ready to get on them but they wouldn't get on the planes."
"So I asked God why won't the people get on the planes … and God said, 'They can't go into the mission field until you get the airplanes. This is what I'm calling you to do,'" he continued. "So Judah 1 really came about from the Lord showing me the need for mission aviation. And as we researched and did our due diligence we found out that there was a great need for large commercial aircraft to transport missionary teams into the mission field."
"It's not just about the preaching of the Gospel," Aaron added. "We want to see the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit in action."
Why will it operate from NTRA?
The organization had planned to operate out of Fort Worth Alliance Airport but it ran into some snags since the city-owned industrial airport is focused on corporate, freight, and military aviation.
That's when he learned about NTRA, which has the capacity to handle larger aircraft, including the McDonnell Douglas MD83 and Boeing 767 aircraft. Those planes will be used by Judah 1.
Aaron had also started out with plans to develop the airline as a charter service. That is until the FAA informed him he would not be allowed to sell individual tickets and that he would be limited to operating flights to five mission organizations each year.
So he switched gears and started the process to create a commercial airline company, which should be open for business in June.
Missionaries will receive first priority, Aaron told the Herald Democrat, but Judah 1 also plans to offer services to organizations such as the Make a Wish Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.