An ex-Qantas Boeing 707 owned by John Travolta is expected to be flown from the United States to Australia in November, media reports say.
The 707-138B, registered N707JT, is headed to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) located at Albion Park.
Travolta said in May 2017 he wanted to donate the aircraft to HARS.
Since then, volunteers from the society have been over to Georgia in the United States where the 707 is stored to work on restoring the aircraft to a safe flying state for the trip to Australia, as well as working on the necessary regulatory approvals.
HARS president Bob De La Hunty told the ABC on Thursday authorities would provide a permit to bring the aircraft to Albion Park.
“We’ve planned for a November arrival,” De La Hunty said.
However, as the 707 would be operating under an Australian registration, the actor and qualified pilot would not be flying the aircraft.
“He has taken time out of his movie commitments for the whole of November to have some flexibility with dates,” De La Hunty told the newspaper.
“Our team will be flying it as an Australian registered aircraft. We have experienced 707 pilots here who flew them and flew this particular one as well in Qantas service. And engineers as well.”
As VH-EBM and named City of Launceston the 707 was delivered to Qantas in September 1964 and stayed with the airline until 1968. After a brief stint with Braniff Airlines the 707 was converted with a corporate jet interior in the 1970s. Travolta acquired the aircraft in 1998.
HARS said in its June 2019 newsletter it was in the advanced stages of planning for the maintenance work to be carried out.
Also, flight planning was well underway.
“We are working towards a date this year for the ferry flight with the previous owner on board,” HARS said in the newsletter.
“A huge event will be planned for the arrival and we would like to see as many people at Illawarra Regional Airport as possible to greet John Travolta and the 707.
“The 747 arrival was big; this promises to be even bigger!”
Qantas named Travolta as one of its ambassadors in 2002 when the 707 was repainted in the airline’s iconic V-Jet livery from the 1960s. The actor, who lives in Florida, also owns a number of other aircraft.
The former VH-EBM will become the second ex-Qantas 707 to go on display in Australia, after the airline’s first 707, the former VH-EBA City of Canberra, was placed on display with the Qantas Founders Museum in June 2007.
HARS is already the home of Qantas’s historic Boeing 747-400, the former VH-OJA (and also) City of Canberra that flew nonstop from London Heathrow to Sydney on its delivery flight.