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'Betsy' the DC-3 warbird back in the air next month - with discounted fares for Kiwis

The operators of Auckland's well-loved Douglas DC-3 "Betsy" is set to take to skies again on D-Day next month - with discounted fares for Kiwi flyers.

Fly DC-3's aircraft 'Betsy'. Source: 1 NEWS

Fly DC3, which operates out of Ardmore Airport, has announced reductions of up to 20 per cent on its regular scenic flight fares, meaning people can get on board for as little as $80.

Betsy has been out of action since flying to Napier for Art Deco weekend in February, co-owner Jessica Cooper said, with the team pulling the plug early due to wanting to be on the safe side as Covid-19 set in.

"The very day that we went into lockdown, we were supposed to start a trip around New Zealand, so we immediately lost $70-$80,000, Ms Cooper said.

Engineers and pilots had been allowed to get out and run the engine after four weeks in lockdown, which was crucial for its maintenance, and the team feels now is the time to get back into the air.

Ms Cooper said Kiwis need something fun to break up the recent anxiety - and she understands keenly how people felt as they worried about getting sick.

This time last year, Ms Cooper and husband Jeff flew to England for the 75th commemoration of D-Day (the Allied invasion of Normandy, France during World War II), and were supposed to continue on to France before Ms Cooper fell badly ill with pneumonia.

"I ended up in hospital on a ventilator," Ms Cooper said, "so the whole Covid thing has just brought all those memories back for Jeff and I. I was expected to die, but I pulled through."

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Only two of the aircraft - drafted into a variety of roles during WWII - still grace Kiwi skies. Source: Seven Sharp

Now, she and the team want to give a little bit of joy back, so have discounted their fares.

"We just want to support the Aucklanders and the Kiwis who have supported us, and to give them a really good deal - we want them to really experience something nice at the moment, because there's a little bit of anxiety and people aren't getting out to play."

All of the flights will include sensible social distancing measures, with flights operating at just 50 per cent capacity.

There are four flights planned - June 6, June 14, June 21 and July 4 - people can book by emailing flights@flydc3.nz calling 0800 FLY DC3.

THE FARES

Big and Little (Adult/Child) $180
Adults (15 to 64) $$110.40
Gold Card (65+) $92
Children (3 to 14) $80