John Travolta is donating his iconic ex-Qantas Boeing 707 to an Australian aviation museum and hopes to be part of the crew to deliver the vintage airliner when it’s ready to make the journey from the United States.
The Hollywood star acquired the 1964 jet when Australia’s national carrier retired it more than 30 years later.
“It gives me great pleasure to make this exciting historical announcement that my beloved Boeing 707 aircraft has been donated to the Historical Aircraft Restoration society (HARS),” Travolta, a Qantas brand ambassador since 2002, said in a statement.
The Australian aircraft preservation society said it will help restore the 707 Jett Clipper Ella (named for his children) so that it can make the journey to the HARS museum near Sydney.
A date for the flight is not yet scheduled but the actor, an accomplished pilot who also owns a Gulfstream II and Challenger 601 and has trained with Qantas in the Boeing 747-400 as a company ambassador, said he plans to be on it.
“The aircraft currently requires a lot of work to be restored to a safe flying state and having seen first hand the dedication and passion of people at HARS, I have no doubt this beautiful and historical aircraft will be flying again,” Travolta said. “I am hoping to be part of the crew to fly the aircraft to Australia.”
HARS President Bob De La Hunty said the idea was first discussed when he met Travolta in 2009 and the pair flew a Qantas 1955 Super Constellation along Australia’s east coast.
“We share a mutual respect for old airplanes and flying and at that stage we were keen to suggest to him that if he ever wanted to part with his Boeing 707 we would be very interested in it,” De La Hunty told ABC. “When we heard earlier this year that he was looking at possibly not continuing with his Boeing 707, we made contact. He jumped at the idea and so we’ve been in detailed discussions and negotiations since.”