KLM takes a step back in time this week as its iconic DC3 aircraft arrives in the UK for a mini-tour of England’s east coast regional airports. Its vintage airliner arrived at Newcastle International Airport from Amsterdam on June 24. It will conduct flights – for selected guests only – from Newcastle Airport on June 25, followed by Durham Tees Valley on June 26, Humberside Airport on June 27 and Norwich International Airport on June 28, 2014.
The DC3 was in widespread commercial use before and after World War Two and passengers from each airport will be travelling in the same style and luxury as passengers in the pioneering age of aviation. Flying the DC3 meant that KLM led the way in modern European aviation, offering customers comfort on board and reliable flights in Europe, the Far East and beyond.
The visiting DC3 aircraft, the Royal KLM Dakota PH-PBA was built in 1944 and served with the 8th Air Force during World War 2. After the war the aircraft was acquired by his Royal Highness Prince Bernhard, Prince of the Netherlands, and later became the first official aircraft of the Dutch government.
After retirement in 1975 the aircraft became part of the collection of the Aviodrome museum. It was put back in service in 1998 and it has been flying ever since. In 2010 she received her current historic KLM colour scheme and was christened ‘Princes Amalia’, after Prince Bernhard’s great grandchild, the current heiress to the Dutch throne.
This year KLM celebrates its 95th year. The airline was founded in 1919 and merged with Air France in May 2004. Since then, they have formed a major player in the air transport industry.
Warner Rootliep, General Manager UK & Ireland Air France KLM said: “We are offering a once in a lifetime opportunity for passengers to experience aviation at its vintage best. The DC3 is such an iconic aircraft and it is a historic moment to welcome it to the UK. Our regional bases are incredibly important to KLM and it is fantastic to be able to showcase our heritage to the local community.”
Dave Laws, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “KLM are an important airline partner and we’re delighted to welcome this historic DC3 aircraft to Newcastle Airport. KLM’s operation from Newcastle has grown from strength to strength and reached 300,000 passengers in the last 12 months. We have an excellent relationship with KLM and look forward to further growth in the future.”
After the Norwich flights on June 28 the DC3 leaves the UK to return to Amsterdam.