In February 2021, the UK company PYTCHAir moved a Boeing 727 fuselage from Cotswold Airport to a new home in Bristol. This was a dramatic move by road, some of it along very narrow roads. Since then, it has been developed into an office and events space with great interior features. It is even occasionally open to the public now too.
Moving a Boeing 727 to Bristol
Before we look at the aircraft now - a quick recap on the history of this fascinating purchase and project. The Boeing 727 in question was first delivered to Japan Airlines in December 1967. It flew with Japan Airlines until 1975, when it moved to Germany and operated with the shipping and transportation company Hapag Lloyd until May 1981. It then flew as a private aircraft for several owners until its retirement in 2012 and movement to Cotswold Airport.
A local businessman, Johnny Palmer, purchased the aircraft in mid-2020. Palmer is the Managing Director and Founder of Pytch - a UK-based event production company.
The move from Cotswold Airport to Bristol took place in February 2021. This was only 35 miles down the road. But transport of any large aircraft is difficult, and this was no different. The aircraft, with a police convoy, traveled first along the M5 and M4 motorways before navigating the narrow streets around the trading estate where Pytch is based. It was finally moved into its resting position on top of shipping containers by crane.
At the time of the move, the company explained that the plan was to use the aircraft as an office and events space initially. After the pandemic (the move happened during COVID restrictions), there were potential plans to organize dining events using the aircraft galley.
Mr Palmer explained at the time:
“Our virtual events studios have been getting busy since covid and we need more space at PYTCH. So rather than do resource and carbon intensive construction we decided to re-purpose the icon of unsustainable hyper-consumption - the airliner private jet. And also have a lot of fun along the way”
Get the latest aviation news straight to your inbox: Sign up for our newsletters today.
The Boeing 727 now
True to the companies’ intentions, the aircraft has been renovated and partly refitted inside. This was completed by November 2021. There is an office and events space, a dining area, and a sleeping cabin. The interiors all follow a retro theme, with striking red furnishings and plenty of wood paneling.
The PYTCHAir Boeing 727 has become a popular tourist attraction in Bristol. Visitors can take tours of the plane and learn about its history. The plane is also a popular location for photography and filming.
One of the main changes to the aircraft since its move is its repainting. In March 2022, Bristol street artists Harriet Wood, Curtis Hylton, and Hasan Kamil repainted it. The shipping containers that the aircraft sits on top of have been painted with clouds to give the impression of the aircraft flying.
It is possible for the public to visit the aircraft. PYTCHAir holds open days twice a year, with a small voluntary charitable donation payable to visit the aircraft. Companies can also inquire about using the aircraft for projects that align with company values. Sadly, even though there is sleeping space onboard the aircraft, it is not possible to rent this directly.
Future plans for the aircraft
The interiors have now been fully fitted out with office space, a dining area, and an accommodation suite. Further plans, according to the company, involve re-connecting as many of the original electronics and avionics as possible. This will include cockpit lights, beacon lights, ventilation, and heating systems.
Other future plans include more external work on the setting. The shipping container setup will be further developed with lighting to represent a runway and the addition of rear access to the aircraft with a stairway designed to represent an airport stair truck.
The company wanted the aircraft to create additional office space, and it has done just that. There was interest in re-use and upcycling and its sustainable impact. Why not use an existing but unwanted aircraft rather than build a new structure? It is also quite a statement to be recycling a former luxury VIP aircraft.
PYTCHAir sums up intentions quite well as:
“We also hope this will inspire others to create upcycled, inspiring, sustainable spaces that bring people together and promote experimentation and business adventure.”
Have you visited the PYTCHAir Boeing 727 in Bristol, or did you watch its move? What other similar projects do you know of that recycle or upcycle aircraft? Feel free to discuss in the comments sections.