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Actor John Travolta's big 707 aircraft was brought to the Commercial Jet repair facility at Miami International Airport. The avid pilot’s lawyers say he was to be charged about $500,000 for the work – but that turned into a bill over $2 million, and 17 months later the work still wasn't done. NBC 6's Willard Shepard reports.
Actor John Travolta brought his big 707 plane to the Commercial Jet repair facility at Miami International Airport – and only got it back after a legal battle.
The avid pilot says his aircraft was supposed to be there for two months and cost him about $500,000, but Travolta took the gloves off when he believed the repair facility was holding the plane – in essence – for ransom.
Exclusive video obtained by NBC 6 shows the plane, which Travolta named after his late son, and his daughter, being removed from the hangar at Commercial Jet's facility in the cargo area at Miami International Airport. Travolta got a court order to get his plane back.
“A person should not be charged what they are worth but what the cost of the repairs is,” said his attorney Jonathan Ewing.
The plane Travolta calls the Jet Clipper Ella is the only 1960s-era 707 still flying in the U.S. He had the plane delivered for repairs to the Commercial Jet facility early last year.
“It’s very similar if you had to bring your vehicle in and the muffler was damaged, broken and you need it replaced. They agreed to fix it for $500, and you waited over a year to get that muffler replaced and they say it's a $4,000 muffler. That's exactly the issue we are dealing with here but with Boeings instead of Chevrolets,” Ewing said.
Travolta's lawyers told NBC 6 they had to file the legal action that ultimately led to the plane’s return.
While Commercial Jet says Travolta's representative was at their hangar frequently, Travolta's lawyers say paperwork shows he was to be charged about $500,000 for the work. They say that turned into a bill over $2 million and 17 months later the work still wasn't done.
“He's a very busy man and being without that aircraft, which is like a member of the family to my understanding, has been very difficult,” Ewing said.
Ewing said Travolta was concerned he was being overcharged because of who he is.
“The concern is that maybe the price is commensurate with the person instead of being connected with the actual reasonable cost and fees that should have been charged,” said Ewing.
Commercial Jet in its legal filings says that any and all alleged deviations from the Work Scope Agreement were made by Commercial Jet with Travolta's full knowledge and consent and constitutes an amendment to the agreement.
So for now Travolta has his plane back at home but now says he's got to find another place to fix it and he wants his money back from the facility here. But they have an entirely different view and are denying his allegations.
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