Oscar Diös tells Wikinews about his hostel within a Boeing 747
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
However, his intention is not to start an airline, and the jet is not intended for flight. Instead, he plans to convert the airliner into a unique business which he calls the 'Jumbo Hostel'. The 450-seat widebodied jetliner will have 25 rooms sleeping a total of 85 people, including some in a luxury suite in the cockpit, and will sit at the entrance to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.
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Built in 1976, the aircraft was an "old wreck" when acquired, according to Oscar. The aircraft was being offered for sale at Stolkholm-Arlanda after previous owner Transjet became bankrupt. The airframe has then been completely gutted and is being fitted with a new, modernised interior. Each room contains three bunk beds. A cafe and a walkway across the left wing are also featured.
The airliner will sit on a concrete platform at the airport's entrance, with its landing gear secured in steel cradles. It is intended to offer a good view of the day-to-day operation of the airport.
The hostel, which is to open in December, is aimed at families with children, aviation enthusiasts, low-budget travelers and people catching early morning flights who wish to leave it as late as possible before rising to get to check-in - unlike its competitors, the Jumbo Hostel is ten minutes walk from the check-in desks.
Wikinews conducted an email interview with Oscar Diös to talk about the hostel. The full exclusive interview is available below.
:Thank you for talking to us. How's the project coming on?
- The project is progressing as planned.
WN:Is everything on schedule still?
- Almost. A few weeks delay.
WN: Is aviation something that interested you before, or was this purely a sudden idea for a new kind of service to provide?
- I do have a pilot-license for a Paramotor (Paraglider with engine). The drive though was the ability to get a hostel into the terminal-area of the international airport. Houses are far too expensive for a hostel.
WN: This is a unique undertaking, yet you say you had the idea simply when you heard the airliner was for sale. Why do you think no-one has done this before you?
- Probably because there are many coincidence that have fallen our way in terms of bankrupcty and poor maintainace and so forth. Good ideas not seldom seem to be very simple once they are out in the air!!
WN:I heard you had plans for other similar hostels if this one was successful. Might we then be seeing Jumbo Hostels in, say, London Heathrow or New York's JFK International?
- Very likely, yes!
WN:Could I or anyone else start one and run it as a franchise if they could get ahold of the funding?
- That is probably one of the business models we are looking for. We always need local operators for the hostels. We know how to establish and build the sites and the operator knows his or her metropol/city.
WN:Just how much does it cost to convert a plane into a hostel?
- That is not offical. But it is a few kronor I can assure ;-)
WN:Aviation is currently experiencing a slowdown, with both high fuel costs and the credit crunch hitting the industry badly. Are you concerned that reduced travelling may mean the hostel comes at a bad time, or do you think that cheaper accommodation near airports will be in higher demand as fares increase?
- Difficult to say. We are planning the Jumbo Hostels onto airports that lack the hostel service in general. Arlanda in Stockholm did not have a hostel before. This means we will fill up a gap that is demanded. The hostels are quite small and should not be to difficult to fill up with guests.
WN:With any large project there are various legal and bureaucratic hurdles to clear. Is it difficult trying to do so with an idea as unusual as this?
- Well, of course there are various hurdles. Luckily they do not come all at once which leaves us with some space for reflection and investigations.
WN:Has the international interest in your project surprised you?
- Not really. The Boeing 747 aircraft is probably the most common transcontinental aircraft. Many parts of the world recognize the "Queen of the Skies" and therefore everyone that learnt about our hostel can start to imagine and relate to what it could be like staying over night at Jumbo Hostel.
WN:Finally, is there anything you'd like to say to anyone reading this now who's considering a stay at your hostel?
- Keep an eye onto our website www.jumbohostel.com for the starting-date for our booking. You are of course more than welcome to Stockholm Arlanda and Jumbo Hostel.