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Thu, Feb 19, 2004

Vintage Flying Boat To Fly Again In Asia

South East Asian Airlines To Launch Dornier 24ATT Service 

South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR), a German-backed commuter airline company based in the Philippines, has announced that it is putting back into service one of the world's most remarkable and historic flying boats, the Dornier 24ATT.

SEAIR, which has been in operation in the Philippines for ten years serving some of the archipelago's top destinations, will use the luxury aircraft to service five-star resorts, offering discerning passengers the opportunity to fly and arrive in style, without hanging around at airports or ferry terminals.

SEAIR chairman and founder Iren Dornier, grandson of German aircraft pioneer Claudius Dornier, removed the Dornier 24ATT from the Deutsch museum in Germany and brought it to the Philippines in 2003, shipping it half way around the world.

There were about 200 DO24s built in the 30s and 40s. This particular aircraft is a one-of-a- kind modification of the original model. It uses more powerful turbine engines, new technology wings, and is amphibian. It is the only Dornier seaplane left in commercial operation and will be the only amphibian in the Philippines used for commercial operation.

There will be two stages to the aircraft's rehabilitation. SEAIR chairman Iren Dornier first plans to pilot the aircraft himself on a world tour, retracing the route taken in 1929 by the DO-X, a Dornier aircraft- the largest flying boat in its day -- before flying it back to the Philippines to begin regular service.

In the Philippines the aircraft will be used only for luxury air travel to and from selected resorts and for transporting VIP clients from island to island.  "This aircraft will offer an innovative service, the first of its kind in Asia," said Iren Dornier. "Its launch is the culmination of two years of hard work."

The DO 24ATT, which has five crew and seating for 10 VIP passengers -- although it could take in a maximum of 19 passengers-- is able to take off and land even in extremely rough seas. It has one love seat bubble and an observatory seat in the rear glass dome.

In the 30s and 40s the Dornier 24 amphibians were used for sea rescue service and as transport flying boats in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, in the English Channel, over the Atlantic Ocean, in the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. More than 11,000 people were saved at sea during the war.  According to Iren Dornier, there are other vintage seaplanes in the world but none can match the DO 24ATT's performance.

"This is a remarkable amphibian with new technology and a reputation for safety which other amphibians don't have. We will provide a customized service to VIP clients. In 1929, a similar aircraft, the Dornier DO-X, the largest flying boat in the world at that time, had a telephone on board and passengers smoked Havana cigars on board. This is the same luxurious feel the aircraft will have when it takes to the skies once again," Dornier said.

"The technical design of the DO24 represented an optimum in flying boat design, and the successful operation under the most difficult conditions made this ocean-going flying boat a piece of aviation history," he added.

The resurrected aircraft will have leather seats, satellite communications so passengers can continue to do business on board, and a camera that will show on a screen inside the cabin either the landscape beneath the aircraft or the marine life when it lands on water.



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