Aircraft recycling takes on a new twist with the opening of the world's first Boeing 747 airport hostel
Graphic of the Jumbo Hostel Cafe
Mon 12 Jan 2009 – Boeing 747 operators and owners looking to retire their older, fuel-guzzling aircraft might be interested in this novel recycling opportunity. This week sees the opening of the world’s first hostel built onboard a 747-200, and located at the entrance to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The aircraft was grounded back in November 2002 and last year underwent a complete overhaul and renovation. Passengers – sorry, guests – can book the Cockpit Suite, in which parts of the original cockpit have been retained, that provides a panoramic view of the airport.
The 72-bed Jumbo Hostel offers 25 rooms in all, most containing three beds (called Jumbo Combo rooms), with all rooms having a flat screen TV and access to wireless broadband. Shared showers and toilets are located in the corridor, except for the Cockpit Suite, which has its own shower and WC.
The hostel is the brainchild of Swedish hostel owner Oscar Diös. “I was getting ready to expand my hostel business in 2006 when I heard about an old wreck of an aircraft for sale at Arlanda,” he explains. “For a long time I had wanted to establish my business at Arlanda so I didn’t hesitate for a second when this opportunity struck.”
The airplane, a decommissioned 747-200 built in 1976, was last operated by Transjet, a Swedish airline that went bankrupt in 2002. It was originally built for Singapore Airlines and later served with Pan Am. Diös obtained a building permit to establish the hostel at the entrance to the airport in December 2007. In January 2008, the aircraft was moved to a construction site where the first phase began with the dismantling of the old interior, the 450 seats taken out and the plane sanitized. The hostel’s interior has been constructed to meet local building and energy standards, with heating achieved through an air/air inverter.
Last summer, the plane was towed to its final destination on an area leased from the airport operator, where it was placed on a concrete foundation with the landing gear secured in two steel cradles and connections installed for water, electricity and telecommunications.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to place the aircraft at its new address just outside the airport,” says Diös. “The location is easily accessible and will suit many categories of guests, such as families with children, young people and ‘experience seekers’ who have grown tired of the usual hotels.”
Diös reports great interest from travel operators, tourist organizations and the media. Rates range from 350 Swedish Kronor ($44) for a bed in the four-bed male dormitory to 1350 Swedish Kronor ($168) for a three-person room.
“It’s just fantastic and unbelievably exciting to finally be able to show something unique and special to the rest of the world,” says the Jumbo Hostel’s Site Manager, Gisela Olsson.