Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD

Travolta now a frequent flyer for Qantas

Planespotter John Travolta greases the publicity wheels for the Flying Kangaroo  

By Grant Holloway

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Movie legend and self-confessed "airline geek" John Travolta has taken on a new role -- global ambassador for Australian airline Qantas.

As part of the job, Travolta -- a qualified jet pilot -- will fly his own Boeing 707 jet on a 13-city world tour to spread the good word about Australia's largest airline.

To help sell the message, the 1967 jet has been painted and branded in the Qantas livery of 35 years ago.

In a ceremony in Los Angeles Tuesday, Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon also presented the star of movies such as "Grease", "Pulp Fiction" and "Broken Arrow" with his first officer wings for completing his flight simulator training for flying Boeing 747-400 jets, also called jumbo jets.

Qantas, which dominates Australia's domestic market, is one of the world's most profitable airlines and is one of the world's top 10 long-haul international carriers.

Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon presents Travolta with his jumbo wings  

But it is keen to build its global profile as the international tourism market recovers from the fall-out of the September 11 terror attacks in the United States.

The Travolta appointment is a key part of that drive.

The actor's "Spirit of Friendship" promotional tour will begin in July and take in 13 cities in 10 countries, including Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, New York and Los Angeles.

Travolta appeared in high spirits at the media conference Tuesday, at one point breaking into song: "Come fly with me, come fly, come fly away ..."

But a more serious note underpinned the proceedings also, with Travolta saying over the past 12 months people's sense of security, goodwill, trust and friendship had been undermined.

His tour would "extend the hand of friendship" across borders.

Dixon described the tour as a "unique opportunity for Qantas to underscore its commitment to international tourism".

Qantas -- dubbed the Flying Kangaroo for its distinctive logo -- this week revised upwards its profit forecasts for the year and said it saw a more rapid than expected recovery in the tourism sector.




Back to the top