Boeing 747's new purpose
Strange are the ways people cling on to memories, honour them or look after them as major attractions. A decommissioned Boeing 747-400, once flown commercially by Dutch airline KLM, has now undertaken an unusual final trip. Acquired by Corendon Hotels & Resorts, the aircraft recently made its final departure from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, by road. The plane, known as the "City of Bangkok" travelled almost eight miles (12.5 kilometres) to its destination: the garden of Badhoevedorp's Corendon Village Hotel. There, it will become a visitor attraction, known as the Corendon Boeing 747 Experience. While the hotel chain is keeping specifics under wraps, spokeswoman Daisy Homoet-Mijnals said that it will be a "huge attraction for everybody who wants to experience the sensation of flying." The installation will incorporate aviation history and art, as well as "3D, 4D and 5D" elements. Corendon Hotels & Resorts obtained the Boeing after its last commercial flight in November 2018, when it travelled from Los Angeles to Amsterdam. It was subsequently flown to Rome, to be stripped of its KLM colours and repainted in Corendon's corporate red and white livery. On its return to the Netherlands, all reusable components were removed by aircraft recycling company AELS. Almost 9,000 people applied to win tickets to watch the plane's journey to Badhoevedorp in person, according to Corendon. Only 6,000 were successful, but the hotel chain set up a live stream for undeterred enthusiasts to watch from home. "For a lot of people this has been a historical moment because they have a special connection with the 747, the biggest invention of Boeing," Homoet-Mijnals said. The first stage of the journey began at night on February 5, when the jet, propped on a self- propelling trailer from transport company Mammoet, left Schiphol Airport. The plane was first moved towards a provincial road, crossing over fields and bridges on the way. At quite some time, the Boeing stood in a farmer's field alongside the A9 highway, no doubt baffling passing drivers, as Mammoet assembled purpose-built roads on which the plane was to travel. On the evening of February 8, the aircraft crossed the highway, in what the hotel company called "the most spectacular part of the transport." The final stage of the journey began on the evening of February 9, when the Boeing crossed one more road before arriving at its new home the next day. "Transporting a Boeing 747 (in this way), including the wings, has never happened before," Homoet-Mijnals said. "It's an exciting but also very difficult project at the same time." True, but paying such 'tribute' to an aircraft that had served its purpose well over the years defies logic and imagination.