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When the Vatican chose ailing Trans World Airlines to fly Pope John Paul II during his visit to the United States this fall, airline chiefs hesitated to use the phrase "divine intervention."
But they thought it.
While the language surrounding TWA's victorious bid for the papal visit has been carefully crafted - "It's a great honor," "It means much to the staff" - there is no doubt that flying the man a billion Catholics view as God's representative on earth is good business.
"The pope's visit is certainly high visibility; it's a way of advertising TWA much like a commercial," said TWA's Chief Executive Jeffrey Erickson. But that's not the only reason TWA bid for the charter, he said.
The airline has carried the pope before - in 1965, 1979 and 1987 …