BCal and The Papal Visit - 1982
British Caledonian Airways and British Caledonian Helicopters were appointed by the Vatican to provide air transportation for Pope John Paul II during his six-day Pastoral Visit to Britain in the early summer of 1982.
The Pope arrived at Gatwick on a special Alitalia service 28th May, thereafter he flew with British Caledonian, including the return flight to Rome.
The Pope’s schedule called for precision planning and fail-safe operation by a specially prepared fleet of helicopters and aircraft that would fly the Pope over 7,500 miles in total. His Holiness would be visiting many places within England, Scotland and Wales.
Two Sikorsky S-61N helicopters (G-BFPF and G-BHPU) were allocated to Papal duties; BAC 1-11 (G-BJRT) was also prepared to make Papal flights around Britain and lastly Boeing 707 (G-AXRS) was readied to fly the Pope back to Rome after his final stop in Cardiff.
BCal’s reputation and ability to provide these co-ordinated flight services led to them being selected above all other airlines in the UK.
Pope John Paul II is welcomed back aboard G-BHPU by Denise Moore, BCal Executive Services Agent and Ray Searle, BCal Security Services Manager, before heading to Coventry Airport.
The Pope is met at Crystal Palace in South London by Denise Moore, BCal Executive Services Agent. The Pope went on to meet with members of the local Polish community.
Pope John Paul II arriving at Glasgow's Bellahouston Park on G-BPHU
BCal's Barbara Afek welcomes the Pope to Edinburgh. Barbara was blessed by the Pope at the foot of the steps as he disembarked from BAC 1-11 G-BJRT and on the left is Senior Hostess Angela Wiejska