Not too long ago, we reported that the world’s first Christian airline was in the works. Called Judah One, the airline is to be based in Texas and will exclusively fly mission trips. Their slogan is, “Your Hands, God’s LOVE, Our Wings.”
The airline released an image of their MD-83’s interior:
It even looks like they’ll have a first class cabin!
The MD83 aircraft completed its C-Check and flew to North Texas Regional Airport on December 30th, 2018. This airport will be the main hub for Judah 1. In fact, Judah 1 would be the only commercial airline flying to and from the airport.
Judah Airlines also posted the following statement on their website:
“We use this aircraft for transporting complete teams of up to 120 in first class comfort. Even though it is a medium range aircraft we can and do use it for long range missions.”
Judah 1 on the MD83
It seems that, by carrying fewer passengers and reducing takeoff weight, Judah 1 intends to fly the MD83 long haul. However, that seems a bit strange.
Judah 1 has stated it will fly missionaries to mission destinations. Most of these destinations are in Africa. The MD83 definitely cannot fly from North Texas Regional Airport to Kenya, where Judah 1 has already identified a mission trip.
Spanning a distance of over 8,700 miles, no MD83 could make the flight nonstop. Should Judah 1 choose to operate the route as a series of intermediate hops, it would add an extended amount of time in comparison to flying a mainline carrier like British Airways or United Airlines.
There also remains the question about cost. The MD83 is an aging beast and it would be quite expensive for an airline to maintain an older plane. In order for Judah 1 to be competitive, there would have to be some benefit for passengers on cost. Given the expensive maintenance and the lack of fuel efficiency, it seems like Judah 1 is walking a very fine line with their business plans.
Judah 1 says they want to acquire 20 aircraft by 2024, including some Boeing 767s. However, this seems highly unlikely. The amount of capital needed to purchase and operate a fleet that large seems out of reach for Judah 1 at this time. Given their niche market of missionaries, it also does not seem like they have enough of a base to sustain their operations.
Furthermore, missionary trips tend to run seasonally, which means that Judah 1 would be hard pressed for business during the dormant off-season. And any time a plane isn’t in the air, it isn’t making money for the airline.
It remains to be seen when Judah 1 starts flying. With the partial government shutdown, a few airlines have had some unfortunate impacts. Judah 1 is aiming for a summer launch date, so hopefully, they will be ready to start flying soon.
What are your thoughts on Judah 1? Let us know in the comments!