A retired British Airways Boeing 747 – purchased for a paltry £1 has been converted into a flightless party plane – costing £12,000 to hire for 24 hours.
The iconic Boeing 747 jumbo jet is a casualty of COVID-19, with airlines putting it into retirement during the past two years after the industry was caught up in the world pandemic.
In 2020, British Airways sent its 747s to Cotswold Airport for storage and was retired in October.
Cotswold Airport CEO Suzannah Harvey enquired if she could keep one of the 747s of which the airline agreed – selling it to the airport for £1 ($1.35).
BA has entrusted the airport to maintain the aircraft, as long as it is financially practical for the public use.
The 747 first joined the BA fleet in 1994 and operated 13,398 flights across almost 60 million miles, making its final flight from Miami to London Heathrow in April 2020.
The jumbo jet is one of four aircraft that feature BA’s unique Negus paint job that was adorned in the 1970s and 1980s.
The heritage livery was painted in 2019 to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary, with the airport investing £500,000 to convert the jet into a party plane. £200,000 was used to house it.
Onboard, the economy section has been transformed into a dance floor, with lights, seating, and a DJ stand, and the galleys turned in a bar.
“When you use the controls in the cockpit, that end actually has a physical effect by a wire on the 747s ailerons, flaps, etc., but nowadays it’s all just computer,” it’s very special, said Suzannah Harvey.
Lights have been rewired to replicate the original lighting system the aircraft had when it was on the ground, costing £80,000.
Some of the cockpit systems remain operable and no one will be able to enter to touch the controls.
The plane’s event space is for hire for weddings and birthday parties, with a wedding costing £12,000 for 24-hours with regular hourly rate £1,000.