Vintage visit underlines airport’s KLM links


The long-standing relationship between Durham Tees Valley Airport and the airline KLM has been underlined with the visit of a 70-year-old aircraft.

The iconic KLM DC3 took invited guests and competition winners on three short trips as part of its tour of a number of UK East Coast airports. On flights which took them over Hartlepool, Redcar, Teesport and the coast, the lucky passengers were able to sample flying in the type of aircraft which was world’s first-ever commercial airliner.

The plane was greeted with a water canon salute as well as a 1940s jazz band and airport staff in period uniforms. Senior airport officials were joined by Gijs van Popta, UK Head of Sales for KLM, the airline’s Partnership Manager for the UK and Ireland, Thierry Spagnou, Jon Shaw, KLM Account Manager and Elena Valdeon, Communications Assistant.

Steve Gill, Managing Director of Durham Tees Valley Airport said:

The KLM service and global connectivity it offers, is hugely important to Durham Tees Valley Airport and it was fantastic that KLM recognised some of their top customers and supporters by bringing this iconic aircraft to the region.

Built in 1944, the Royal KLM Dakota PH-PBA was in service with the 8th Air Force during the Second World War. 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.

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