June 25, 2002 11:00 AM

Forget transporting his family around in a minivan. John Travolta will soon be flying high Down Under. On Monday, reports Reuters, Travolta, 48 and a self-professed “airline geek,” earned a new set of wings as a first officer for Australia’s Qantas Airways. As such, he plans to take his family — actress wife Kelly Preston, 39, and their two children, son Jett, 10, and daughter Ella Bleu, 2 — on a two-month, 35,000-mile flight that will circle the globe, starting July 1. Travolta, who first got his pilot’s license in 1981, will helm the plane, a specially outfitted 707 called “Jett Clipper Ella.” The “Pulp Fiction” star, who trained with Qantas and on 747 simulators at Boeing headquarters in Seattle, is now officially an ambassador-at-large for the airline, which is using his services as a way to help boost air travel in the aftermath of Sept. 11, Reuters reports. The news service says that after Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon pinned the golden wings on Travolta, who was wearing a crisp blue aviator’s uniform, the actor said it was “one of the proudest days of my life. Without crying here, I would say it’s at least alongside the two Oscar nominations I’ve received in my career. It’s right up there with that.”

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