Inside British Airways 747 that's been turned into a party plane at Cotswold Airport

  • Fly through the British Airways 747 events space

An old British Airways 747 has been transformed into a party plane at Cotswolds Airport - and it is available to hire.

The BA plane at Cotswold Airport in Kemble has been transformed into an events space to host everything from private birthday parties to product launches and corporate events.

The aircraft is being preserved at the site near Cirencester after British Airways retired its fleet early because of the travel downturn caused by the pandemic. 

It was bought for just £1 in 2020 and has since been a labour of love for the airport's chief executive Suzannah Harvey.

Suzannah Harvey, CEO Cotswold Airport

She told ITV West Country: "It's been a long old slog. She came into us in October 2020, and at the time I rather naively thought we'd have her up and running by the following Easter. 

"We've had such tremendous support from everybody. All the contractors, all the people that have volunteered who are current BA 747  engineers - and here we are finally. She's ready and she's good to go."

  • Watch Katie Rowlett's full report

The team behind the transformation has completely stripped out the economy section of the aircraft to create an area for the events space.

The gallery has been altered into a bar, but most of the original structure is still in place.

The entire plane has been rewired with custom lighting to replicate the original system on board but works on mains power.

The Negus also needed a good clean inside and out. It took one man a week and a half to valet the outside.

Retired BA pilot Alan Dorman, from Cheltenham, was at the airport for a flying lesson and could not resist asking for a look around.

He flew 747s for 14 years and remembers piloting the exact plane.

Alan Dorman, former British Airways pilot.

When asked about the transformation, he said: "I think it's absolutely amazing. I was expecting what you see in a lot of old planes. That they have got old and they are musty and smelly and not looked after.

"This looks as if it is ready to go on a trip, particularly the front end. The back end is just wonderful for all the dinners and occasions. It looks absolutely terrific."

The aircraft is painted in the unique Negus livery which adorned British Airways planes in the 1970s and 1980s. It was one of four painted in heritage liveries to mark the airline’s centenary.

The transformation has cost more than £400,000.

It entered the British Airways fleet on 15 February 1994, operating 13,398 flights - flying for 118,445 hours over nearly 60 million miles.

Its last passenger flight was from Miami to Heathrow on 6 April, 2020.

How much does it cost to hire out the plane?

It costs more than £1,000 an hour to hire. A large percentage of the money raised will be used to support the airport's scholarship programme as well as helping with ongoing costs.

The airport has been inundated with inquires including a commission for a Netflix production.

For a plane that was bought for just one pound, it has so far cost more than £400,000 to carry out the refurbishment work.

Cotswold Airport Chief Executive adds: "I paid a pound for her, and we have a certain obligation to maintain it as is practical for public use.

"The company has had to spend nearly £500m000 getting her prepped and ready here, but I think it's money well spent and it preserves her for future generations."

The airport will also be opening up for twice weekly tours from March. All booking information can be found on its instagram page.