Pope’s Plane to Fly Over Soviet Union

From Associated Press

Barred by China, Pope John Paul II will become the first pontiff to fly over the Soviet Union on his trip to Asia next month, the Vatican said Friday.

The Italian airline Alitalia received permission for a route for the papal plane over Yugoslavia, Hungary, the Soviet Union and Japan for the Oct. 6 flight to Seoul, the first stop on the 10-day trip, according to Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro.

The airline announced last month that China’s Communist government denied permission for the plane to fly over China. The government did not give an explanation. China severed diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1957.