Pope Francis' airplane circled around before landing near Washington, D.C., this week, prompting some observers to speculate that President Barack Obama was late going to meet the pontiff.
"As pope stalkers of the world watched his flight path on the Alitalia website, the plane started making several loops over North Carolina on its way to Joint Base Andrews," wrote The Atlantic
. Some Twitter users noticed as well.
According to the official White House schedule, the pope's plane was set to land at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, and he was scheduled to deplane for a grand welcoming by the president at 4 p.m.
Some initial reports suggested that Obama was late to the meeting, forcing the plane to stall for a time.
A White House spokesperson soon pointed out, however, that no matter the reason for the airborne loops, the pope and president were both present for an on-time 4 p.m. welcoming ceremony.
One observer said it appeared that the pope's plane had left early from Cuba. Some also pointed out that his plane ultimately landed five minutes late.
According to Fortune magazine
, the pope is flying the Italian flag carrier Alitalia in part to help prop it up financially. On Friday, the company announced that CEO Silvano Cassano was leaving after less than a year on the job. This announcement came on the heels of news saying that the airline posted a $148 million loss for the first half of 2015.
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