With more aircraft than usual being retired during the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s a growing trend for repurposing old planes as homes, offices, restaurants and hotels. We’ve collated some of the most ingenious ways old planes have been repurposed and given a new lease of life.

Ingenious ways to repurpose old aircraft

A commercial aeroplane’s average lifespan is about 20 years, but reduced demand during the pandemic has seen many airlines retiring planes early to streamline their fleets.

Disused aircraft are usually left to rust in a boneyard, but with an estimated 15,000 due to retire by 2041, there’s a growing trend of recycling them for other uses. We’ve collated some of the most ingenious ways old planes have been repurposed and given a new lease of life.

Home office

Ireland-based friends Kevin Regan and Shane Thornton have built a business from recycling old airliners, after being inundated with requests when the pods they made for their own gardens went viral on social media. Their company Aeropod now transforms commercial aircraft shells into home offices, glamping pods and ready-made accommodation.

The bespoke pods come in a range of sizes, from tiny three-window units to larger spaces with bedrooms, ensuites and kitchenettes. The overhead storage cabins are removed, but each pod retains other original features like the quintessential pull-down blinds.

Party venue

A pre-owned Boeing 747-400 will set you back millions of pounds, but apparently, these iconic airliners can be a lot cheaper once retired! In 2020, Cotswold Airport bought a disused British Airways model for just £1 and then spent £500,000 remodelling it into a ‘party plane’ for revellers and businesses to hire.

During the refurb, the plane’s economy section was removed to create a stylish event space, while the galley was transformed into a sleek bar. Costing over £1,000 an hour to rent, the completed Negus 747 can now host a range of functions from birthday parties to corporate product launches and has attracted interest from big-name clients like Netflix.


When Francie Rehwald asked him to create a modern and luxurious home that didn’t interfere with her Malibu property’s sweeping views of the mountains and ocean, architect David Hertz visualised a self-supporting roof that seemed to hover over the site. After having the idea of using aircraft wings, Hertz superimposed different types to scale and found that a Boeing 747-100’s wing was the best fit.

Aptly named the 747 Winghouse, the now-completed structure uses every part of the plane’s fuselage, along with its wings and tail section, to create a truly unique home in the California countryside. Even the cockpit has been incorporated as a meditation pavilion.


In 2016, Chinese businessman Li Yang unveiled a restaurant inside a Boeing 737 in the busy shopping district of Wuhan. Yang reportedly bought the retired aircraft from Indonesia's Batavia Air for ¥35 million ($4.89 million USD) and shipped it to China over four months. Diners at the aviation-themed eatery are served by wait staff dressed as flight attendants and can try out a flight simulator in the cockpit.

This isn’t the only time an aircraft’s shell has been repurposed as a restaurant. Other notable examples include a Douglas DC-3 doubling up as a McDonald’s shopfront in New Zealand and a Fairchild C-123 Provider housing a restaurant and bar in Costa Rica.


For some aviation enthusiasts, it’s not enough to simply travel by commercial airliner or private jet charter. They want to stay in an aircraft on the ground as well – a feat that’s possible in one of the innovative hotels around the world that are made from old airliners. 

Guests at NL Hotel in the Netherlands can view the cockpit controls and sit in the pilot’s seat of a Cold War-era plane, which is now a luxury suite with kitchen, bathroom, Jacuzzi and sauna. Budget-conscious travellers can bed down in a Boeing 747 at Sweden’s Jumbo Hostel, while an old warplane is now a unique motel at Woodlyn Park in New Zealand.

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