John Travolta has signalled that he plans to return to the Illawarra, and says he has hopes he could bring his vintage Boeing 707 in the early months of next year.
The actor spoke to media after his joy flight on the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society plane Connie, telling of his love of old planes and his affinity with the Illawarra-based museum.
He was meant to arrive to much fan-fare aboard his once-beloved plane, before bestowing it as a gift to HARS. But instead he touched down quietly and empty handed at the Shellharbour airport on Monday afternoon.
Mr Travolta has been in Australia to deliver a speaking tour - An Evening With John Travolta - but the plane he promised to give to the HARS two years ago remains stuck in America. There is still no set date for when the vintage Boeing 707 might be able to arrive, with high repair costs and red tape keeping it out of Australia.
"I scheduled this whole trip to be here with it, but then the paperwork got away," he said, adding there was also a "little bit of engineering" to get it in the air.
Asked when the plane would be coming and if he'd be on it, Mr Travolta said he had high hopes.
"Yes, I want to be very much," he said. "I don't have an absolute answer [for when it will arrive] but I think we scheduled November, hoping probably January or February, so we'll see."
He said he would "make sure the 707 is definitely coming" before booking other scheduled events in Australia next time.
Mr Travolta also praised HARS for its work on old planes, saying it was "the only air museum I know in the world" that kept them flying.
"Most importantly this is a museum that keeps aircraft flying," he said,
"Static pieces are nice but they're not as exciting as keeping very important historical aircraft flying."
He also said the Illawarra's coastline was "exceptional".
"Sydney has so many icons with the opera house and the bridge, but then you forget the beauty that compares to any great, epic beauty in the world, that coastline," he said.
HARS President Bob De La Hunty said he was "thrilled" to be welcoming Travolta to Shellharbour Airport, despite the plane delays.
"It is wonderful that John will get a chance to catch up with HARS members, several of whom know him quite well," Mr De La Hunty said.
"HARS has done a tremendous amount of work restoring the 707 that John has donated to our aviation museum. Of course, that work is continuing and more time is needed to comply with regularly requirements..."
Former Qantas pilot John Dennis who is overseeing the project on behalf of HARS, said in September that it could cost up to $2 million to get the plane in the air.
Travolta makes time for fans during flying visit
It may have been organised at the last minute, but Hollywood star John Travolta gave plenty of time to the fans he did encounter during his brief visit to the Illawarra.
Just after he touched down at the Shellharbour airport, he stopped to "say G'day" to a crew at the Rural Fire Service training ground.
Then, he caused a frenzy at the Oak Flats branch of Bendigo Bank, thrilling tellers and customers when he stopped in for lunch.
Back in the HARS hangar, Shellharbour mayor - and long time Travolta fan - got him to sign some Saturday Night Fever memorabilia, before he boarded the Lockheed C-121C Super Constellation "Connie" with HARS members and council staff.
Just before he took off on a helicopter to head back to Sydney, Mr Travolta stopped to sign autographs for the small, vocal but of die-hard fans who had spent hours peering through the airport fence trying to catch a glimpse of him.
"Can you touch my hand," once young cried, while others simply yelled out "Thank you John!" as he waved and smiled through the steel bars.