From hotels to space platforms, some new uses for old airliners

Transaero retired aircraft

Where do old aircraft go when they retire?

Some go to storage airports, such as this one in Teruel, Spain.

But a whole lot of other, rather imaginative, uses can be found for ageing aircraft that have reached the end of their productive life...

For example, Virgin Atlantic has been withdrawing a number of its veteran Boeing 747s. In this case, having a space flight subsidiary within the same group of companies, comes in handy. Virgin Galactic will be using one of the former Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747s as a lunch platform for the company's satellite rockets.

However, the very first Virgin Atlantic Jumbo jet, called "Lady Penelope, was placed for sale on eBay (starting bidding price $299,000), although the aircraft is not in flying condition so, most likely it is going to end up converted into a restaurant or hotel. 

This is, indeed, the fate of this Boeing 727, that is now the hotel Costa Verde in Costa Rica. Arlanda airport, in Stockholm, Sweden, also boasts its own aircraft hotel, in this case a former PanAm Boeing 747, and KLM also offered stays in a converted MD-11 through AirBnB.

When Russian airline Transaero collapsed in 2015, most of its aircraft, many of them relatively new, ended up at Teruel airport, while they awaited their return to lessors or to new operators.

Transaero old aircraft

However, an Irish entrepreneur bought one of the former Transaero Boeing 767s for $20,000 and moved it, by barge (!) all the way to Enniscrone, on the West Coast of Ireland, the site of the Quirky Nights Glamping Village, a camping site that already boasts a rather impressive collection of other vehicles, including a whole fleet of vintage buses, trains and taxis.

The move of this Boeing 767 to its new home through the River Shannon provided these amazing scenes:

And from the skies to the sea, because an Airbus A300 has been deliberately sunk off the Aegean coast of Turkey in order to create an artificial reef, that will enhance the biodiversity of the place, but also make for a rather interesting diving spot!