On Oct. 8th, British Airways’ last 747 touched down at Cotswold Airport in Kemble, England after 26 years in the sky. While it may be the end of its days as a commercial jet, this 747 isn’t done serving the public. By spring 2021, the aircraft will be permanently parked at Cotswold Airport and converted into a cinema, conference venue and education center.
Life as a Commercial Jet
The aircraft, registered as G-CIVB, entered service at British Airways in 1994 and has flown nearly 60 million miles since its induction. A year before its retirement, G-CIVB was one of four aircraft re-painted with British Airways’ retro Negus livery, which was celebrated the company’s 100-year anniversary. Negus was painted on aircraft from 1974 to 1984 and was created after British European Airways and British Overseas Airways Corporation merged to form British Airways. The livery itself was created by combining elements from the two former companies’ liveries and incorporating them with the nation’s colors of red, white and blue.
“The 747, the Negus livery, are iconic in BA’s past, and we hope locals and visitors will enjoy seeing this slice of history for years to come,” said British Airways CEO Sean Doyle.
The jumbo jet will be converted into a cinema, museum and “unique business, conferencing and private hire venue,” and is set to open in Spring 2021. Parked at Cotswold Airport near Kemble, an English village in Gloucestershire, the museum and cinema hopes to attract students and locals. Furthermore, the conference center will sport the aircraft’s inflight entertainment system for business presentations, and the money raised from the 747 will be donated to the charities and scholarship program run by the airport.
Doyle commented on the jet’s retirement, saying, “It was with great sadness that we retired our two final 747s based at Heathrow earlier this month, so we’re glad Cotswold Airport is able to give one of these aircraft a new home and a new lease of life.”
“It is great news to locals and visitors who will be able to see and experience one of the most iconic passenger aircraft of its time,” said Suzannah Harvey, chief executive of Cotswold Airport.
Other Re-Purposed 747s
G-CIVB is not the only aircraft to be re-designed into something new. In 2017, Delta built an entire exhibition inside one of its retired 747s. The jet was actually the first 747-400 built by Boeing and first flew for Northwest Airlines before it merged with Delta Air Lines in 2008. The museum includes the history of the 747 aircraft, seats in Delta One, access to the cockpit, a patio on the wing and the aircraft’s original wiring, insolation and other operational components.
In addition to the Delta 747, another jumbo jet is permanently parked at Stockholm Arlanda Airport as a hostel-hotel. The jet was once owned by Transjet Airways, a now-bankrupt Swedish airline, but now serves the public as a unique accommodation for travelers.