Aerotiques is an English design company that turns retired Boeing 747 planes into household items.
The company has a team of four that creates collectibles like clocks, a cocktail bar, and bag tags.
Aerotiques’ cofounder Darren Lewington says he loves “hearing people’s stories about their time on the jumbo.”
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the retirement of many beloved commercial aircraft, like the Airbus A380, the Boeing 747, and the Boeing 777.
Even more iconic planes are disappearing from the skies earlier than planned as the coronavirus continues to wreak airline havoc
The Boeing 747, in particular, is an iconic jet that revolutionized air travel by making long-haul flying affordable for the first time.
Boeing will stop making the 747 after more than 51 years of passenger flight. Here’s the history of how the iconic plane changed the world.
Airlines could cut fares by packing over 300 passengers in the double-decker plane, which had the lowest seat-mile cost in the industry at the time. The world’s first Queen of the Skies flew in 1970 with Pan Am.
However, the pandemic has forced carriers to send the jumbo to the junkyard. Among them: British Airways…
The iconic Boeing 747 is disappearing from the British Airways fleet after 49 storied years as the pandemic thrashes the airline industry
Qantas just retired the iconic Boeing 747 with a commemorative last flight flown by the airline’s first female captain who drew a kangaroo in the sky
… and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic will cut thousands of jobs, retire its most iconic planes, and close one of its biggest bases as it fights to survive the pandemic
Nevertheless, several companies have found unique ways to keep the plane’s legacy alive.
Check out these 6 retired Boeing 747 jumbo jets that have been converted into flightless tourist attractions and entertainment venues
In February, Cotswold Airport in England opened its “party plane,” which is a converted British Airways 747 that costs £1,000 ($1310) per hour to rent.
The flightless Queen of the Skies has been renovated into an event space, complete with a dance floor, DJ, galley bar, and strobe lights.
Several other organizations have also repurposed the mammoth jet, like Dive Bahrain’s sunken 747 for diving tourism…
Countries around the world have sunk aircraft like the Boeing 747 to boost diving tourism — here are 6 intentionally submerged planes
… and Sweden’s Jumbo Stay hotel that features rooms in the engines and wheelhouse.
This Jumbo Jet Was Transformed Into A Beautiful Hotel — And You Can Even Sleep In The Cockpit
While many entities are keeping the planes intact, one company has gone in a different direction.
English design company Aerotiques buys old 747 aircraft sections from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and turns the metal into collectibles like clocks, tables, and cufflinks.
According to cofounder Darren Lewington, the business was started with the propeller from a Beechcraft plane.
“I was eyeing the old propeller for a while thinking I could polish it up and hang it in the office, but a few months later the spinner was gone,” he explained. “Turns out, one of our maintenance workers, who is also named Darren, had done what I wanted to do for years.”
The propeller was the first piece of a now successful small business that ships unique 747 memorabilia to all corners of the globe.
The company has a team of four that design and hand-build each piece, Lewington told Insider. The process includes sawing the needed parts, which typically come from the aft fuselage or first class sections, and sculpting them into what the customer wants.
“We sometimes get specific requests,” he explained. “Once, we had a client who asked for the window from row 64K from a 747 they flew to New York.”
The clocks are one of the most popular products made by Aerotiques, which can be mounted on walls…
… or stood upright.
However, the company creates dozens of other aircraft memorabilia from the 747 and different airplane types, like wine bottle holders…
… window panels…
… and a specially made conference table made from a Boeing Stearman plane.
Nothing goes to waste, he said, so small pieces are turned into things like bag tags…
Lewington told Insider that he is most proud of the work his company does to create items that tell a story.
“It’s been fascinating hearing people’s stories about their time on the jumbo,” he said. “There have been people who’ve been on the holiday of a lifetime, lots of honeymoon trips, last flights, and first flights.”
For example, a couple who met on a specific British Airways 747 flight now lives in Malta with their children and Lewington’s company created a piece from the exact 747 for their home’s study.
Since the pandemic, Lewington said the company’s turnover has quadrupled, with customers coming from word-of-mouth.
“I thought when the pandemic hit that we would have a tough time,” he told Insider. “However, we found that people who had disposable income because they weren’t going out to eat or going on holiday would instead used the money to buy a little piece of history.”
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