What do disco dancing and aviation have in common? Besides requiring generally good physical form and precise timing, they’re also roles that actor John Travolta is famous for. Whether killing it on the dance floor as Tony Manero in the iconic ‘Saturday Night Fever’, or chalking up miles on one of his five aircrafts, passion is the name of Travolta’s game.
When asked to choose between dancing or flying, however, he’s definitely keener on the latter -even if he gets to wear his favourite watch, the Breitling Navitimer, whilst dancing.
Aviation is something that the actor has confessed to being obsessed with. If he was a superhero, flight is his immediate power of choice. “I’m not sure what kind of superhero I’d like to be, but it has to involve flying,” he quips.
Born in Englewood New Jersey, the youngest of six children, Travolta’s dreams began when he played with model airplanes. Since then, his dreams have more than materialised, with five personally owned aircrafts, a home, known as the Jumbolair, that doubles as an airport (there, he parks his Boeing 707 and Gulfstream Executive Jet), and more than 5,000 flying hours.
In town to celebrate the launch of the latest edition of Breitling’s Navitimer on 30 July 2012, the Navitimer Blue Sky in Singapore, as well as to take a holiday, Travolta and his family flew in via his Boeing 707. ‘The ability to get out of bed, and just fly to a different country, like Singapore’, he remarked, ‘has always been a dream’.
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The family man is especially fond of his Qantas 707-138 which he named Jett Clipper Ella after two of his children. He cites a love for the older generation of commercial planes. Together with Quantas, of which he is brand ambassador at-large, he maintains his Boeing 707 and keeps it airworthy.
His relationship with Breitling is also extremely close to his heart. He has immense respect for the watchmaking company, saying, “Breitling only chooses ambassadors with genuine aviation accomplishments and serious commitment to flying”. Breitling has also offered him to fly a Super Constellation Flyer, unfortunately he is unable to do so at present, but he is working on getting licensed.
He has other future plans. Together with Qantas and Bombardier (he recently became brand ambassador in 2011), which manufactures planes and trains, he hopes that someday, he “can be part of a team which will produce a supersonic corporate jet or a hypersonic airplane, that companies will create something like that before he dies”. He’s confident of that possibility materializing, citing the appearance of the Concorde.
Still, despite the dedication that Travolta devotes to flying, his acting career is still doing well. His new film ‘Savages’, directed by Oliver Stone, has just opened in the United States to box office and critical acclaim. It’s slated to be released in Singapore on 20 September. He’s also hoping that his new film, a new edition of ‘The Killer’, will be filmed in Asia. Most importantly, he just wants to leave a positive legacy.
“I just hope to be someone who has made good and entertaining movies, and that I’ve achieved something good in the world of aviation”, he expresses softly as the cameras flash.