AN ICONIC airliner saved from an ignominious end at Durham Tees valley Airport is to be unveiled to the public next week.

G-ARPO is the last complete Hawker Siddeley 1C Trident aircraft anywhere in the world and was salvaged from the airport's International Fire Training ground towards the end of 2009 by the newly-formed Save The Trident Group.

The jet was one of several being used for fire training and whilst the others were all burnt to a crisp, it survived because it was only used for smoke training.

When it was deemed surplus to requirements, The Trident Group, led by Tony Jarrett, set about dismantling and moving the aircraft by road to the North East Land, Sea and Air Museums at Sunderland.

Since then the team has worked tirelessly to restore its interior with refurbished seats, cockpit, carpets, toilets and galleys.

They have also prepared the exterior of the fuselage and painted it in the bright colours of Northeast Airlines – a company which flew Tridents from Newcastle and Teesside Airports in the 1970s.

Now, the team are preparing to open the doors for the first time to allow the public to come on board and see the finished exhibit.

To mark the unveiling, over 40 pilots who flew G-ARPO are making the journey to come and see their former aircraft again.

Mr Jarrett said: “It’s been a long project to get to this stage, but to see the aircraft looking proud in its new colour scheme is really worth all the effort.”

“When we first took on the aircraft it was in a poor state.

“But we have got this far with the help of many sponsors and volunteers who have allowed us to put together an amazing exhibit for future generations to enjoy.”

The next stage of the project will be to reattach the tail and wings to the aircraft.

The unveiling will take place on Saturday July 11 will run from 11am to 5pm and will be complimented by a host of other activities, including classic cars, birds of prey, bouncy castles, flight simulators and more.

Normal museum admission price applies.

Anybody interested in helping or sponsoring the restoration team can visit for more information.