Teen planespotters invited onboard VIP Airbus flight by airline CEO

What started as just another morning of taking photos at Auckland Airport, turned into 'the best day of our lives' for a group of young aviation enthusiasts on Friday.

Teenagers Logan Clarke, Sahil Tiku, Nicholas Harford and Alex Parker, had been lined up against a security fence since early on Friday morning, to get shots of a visiting Airbus A220.

They made their presence known as soon as I and the other media first arrived, and their cameras suggested they were more than just part-time enthusiasts.

These boys watched attentively as the congregation of media and aviation executives got up close and personal with the Airbus A220 aircraft, in town on a demonstration tour of Asia and the Pacific.

It was a very windy day, and conversation was difficult, even when you were within metres of whoever you were talking to.

Air Baltic CEO delivers the good news to the keen group of photographers.
Air Baltic CEO delivers the good news to the keen group of photographers. Photo credit: Auckland International Airport

So, it came as a bit of a surprise to hear a roar of excitement come from the fenceline.  Martin Gauss, the CEO of AirBaltic, the owner of the visiting aircraft, had just invited the plane spotters not only to go onboard the new aircraft, but to join the media for a flight around the North Island. 

There was a frenzy of calls to parents to get permission, as the group covered themselves in Airbus merchandise that had been given to them by representatives of the aircraft manufacturer.

"This is life-changing," one of the group members said to another.

When the A220 took to the sky, the excited teens instantly transformed into professional photographers. Some of their images would be right at home on any tourism or airline brochure.

Teen planespotters invited onboard VIP Airbus flight by airline CEO
Photo credit: Nick Harford

There was clearly no facade on display here, they all knew their stuff.

"I like the fact that it's really economical and it's got a really long-range for its type," Logan Clarke told me.

"Please buy some, Greg Foran!" He added, referring to the new Air New Zealand CEO.

Nicholas Harford said he was shocked when they were invited on to the plane.

The A220 spent an hour flying around the North Island.
The A220 spent an hour flying around the North Island. Photo credit: Flightaware.com

"I was lost for words, I had no idea what to say, I was shocked. It was amazing."

The flight lasted just an hour, and as the event came to an end the teenagers left with not just a bag full of merchandise, they had a story to tell and even more eagerness to pursue a career in aviation.

Each of the group had different goals, all within the industry. An avionics engineer, an airport architect, a pilot and a technical engineer. 

Flying south along the west coast of the North Island.
Flying south along the west coast of the North Island. Photo credit: Newshub.

And, if the onboard Airbus representative is correct when saying, "in aviation, passion has no limits," there's no reason why in years to come, these four plane enthusiasts couldn't be the ones reaching out through the fence offering a life-changing experience to someone else.

Newshub. 

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