Back in November we first reported on a Bristol entrepreneur’s vision to repurpose an old Boeing 727 as a work and event space. Since then we’ve also reported on the project’s progress and setbacks. But now, Johnny Palmer’s goal of moving the old jet from Cotswold Airport to Bristol has finally been achieved, making for some spectacular sights along the way as the fuselage was moved down the motorways and backroads of southwest England.
“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.” -Johnny Palmer, Founder, PYTCH
The move from Cotswold Airport to Bristol
Over the weekend, the old aircraft body, now known as PYTCHAir, was transported from its home at Cotswold Airport to its new, permanent resting place on an industrial estate in Bristol.
Moving the 727 fuselage was no easy task, requiring two giant cranes to lift the enormous airliner to place it in position. In the process, the aircraft body blocked motorways and small backroads and required the assistance of local police to manage traffic and the large crowds of onlookers.
“Getting PYTCHAir to Bristol was a major challenge and there were some hairy moments! Such as when the police refused for us to use the planned route, when it scraped under a motorway bridge, and when emergency services had to get past us.” -Johnny Palmer
Palmer adds that getting the fuselage strapped to the trailer in a very specific manner was essential- as a rolling fuselage on the road could have been a lethal disaster.
The general response from the people of Bristol is reported to have been overwhelmingly positive. Palmer says that he is grateful to have put together a project that has brought cheer during a time that might otherwise be drab for many.
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As already mentioned, settling the new jet into its new home at “PYTCH HQ, 21 Bonville Road,” required two heavy-duty cranes. Taking place on Saturday evening, the aircraft body was lifted into place atop a number of old shipping containers.
Big plans for the space
Palmer has some exciting plans for the big metal tube. The tech entrepreneur, activist, and investor intends to convert it into a work and event space, used for collaboration.
“We needed more space for meetings as our virtual events broadcast business has taken off since lockdown and we have lost all our offices to multiple sound stages and green-screen broadcast areas” Palmer says.
In its early days, the aircraft was used by Japan Airlines before being sold and converted into a private jet. The aircraft was fitted with “VVIP interiors,” which is rumored to have been originally fitted out for a Saudi prince.
If purchased new, the aircraft would have cost £40m ($55.6m). However, the PYTCH founder secured a deal for far less, due to its lack of engines and wings. Despite getting a deal, Palmer says that this is “by far the most expensive office space that has ever been installed in Bristol (or at least it would if the aircraft could fly.)”
While we know about a 747 hotel in Sweden, a 737 caravan in Lancashire (England), and an A330 coffee shop in Thailand, this 727 collaboration space is the only such use of this aircraft type in Europe.
The fuselage itself will subsequently become an iconic piece of artwork as it will be an arts collaboration with local street artists. Indeed, Bristol is an area already well-known for its bustling arts scene.
We’re wishing Palmer and his new business and event space all the best. We’re looking forward to seeing the finished work in the months to come!
Have you been following the progress of PYTCHAir? What do you think of the move? Let us know in the comments.