BOURNEMOUTH’S popular aviation museum has a new addition – of a more recent vintage.

The distinctive exhibit is an old Palmair jet, a familiar sight at the airport until the carrier closed three years ago.

The Boeing 737-200 carried tens of thousands of holidaymakers from Bournemouth Airport, before being replaced by a more modern plane.

The front half of the white fuselage was unveiled at the museum along Parley Lane last week.

Palmair was founded by the late Peter ‘PJ’ Bath in the 1950s and his widow Liz and son Stephen were at the unveiling.

Stephen, who was joint managing director of Bath Travel until the business was sold in October, said: “It’s great to see the aircraft here.

“It was a big part of the airport and of course, of our family business. Palmair was really known as Bournemouth’s airline.

“It was a sad day when we had to close it down.”

The Boeing has the slogan ‘The Spirit of Peter Bath’ painted under the cockpit window.

Mr Bath became a legend in the travel industry for seeing all his flights off personally.

Stephen added: “I didn’t know this was happening. I flew into Bournemouth by helicopter the other day and I saw the fuselage as we came down.

“It was a real surprise. I did a double take.”

The plane, which was due to be scrapped, will host a Palmair exhibition as well as being available for hire when it opens to the public next summer.

It was bought with the help of local commercial 737 pilot Richard Griffin.

“We have been searching for a 737 for the museum for 18 months, so it was great to find this 200 with its connection to local history,” he said.

“It was working at the museum when I was young that led me to become a pilot, so I was keen to give something back.”