A converted Airbus A380 will become a hotel in Toulouse: Care to sleep in the cockpit?
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Some people are saying “au revoir” to the Airbus A380, the world’s largest airplane. Others would prefer to say “bonjour.”
Frédéric Deleuze, a former Airbus engineer, is in the latter group. He plans to turn a retired A380 aircraft into a hotel in France, not far from the Toulouse airport (TLS). The hotel is expected open in early 2024.
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Deleuze wants “to avoid scrapping such a structure that could be reused (and) to make a tribute to this wonderful aircraft, (which is) nearly a religion for all Airbus employees,” he told The Points Guy in an email.
Additionally, he said, “I love challenges and discovering new things continuously. Also, I always had in mind to create my own business.”
Asked whether he is targeting airplane geeks as patrons, Deleuze said, “I target both customer types, passionate or curious people, but also business (travelers) considering the location, in a great economic area, and the comfort proposed by the hotel.
“We hope to finalize the feasibility study (technical and economic) by the end of March,” Deleuze said. The planned site for the Envergure Hotel is north of the Toulouse-Blagnac airport (TLS), near the MEETT exhibition and convention center, which opened in 2020.
Deleuze declined to say what he paid for the aircraft.
The hotel will have 31 rooms including two suites, one in the cockpit and one in the aircraft’s upper level, accessible via the aircraft stairs. The suites are expected to cost around $350 a night. The standard rate for two people will range from around $125 to around $175.
A 60-seat restaurant, attached to the aircraft, will be “integrated into a building using the metaphor of a control tower,” according to a press release, which described the hotel as “a place dedicated both to the curious, to enthusiasts, but also to tourists and professionals looking for marked originality and comfort.” The restaurant will offer “high-quality bistro cuisine,” and will seek to use local products, reduce waste and be staffed with well-treated employees, the press release said.
Airbus, which operates a plant in Toulouse, delivered its final A380 in December, after delivering 254 jets to airlines during 14 years of production. Emirates, by far the biggest customer, took about 123 aircraft. Airbus announced in 2019 that it would end production.
Pandemic speculation about the aircraft’s future has been inconsistent.
The A380, which can comfortably seat about 544 passengers in three classes, is instantly recognizable but financially unviable in many markets, because in general passengers prefer more frequent flights, which means smaller aircraft on each flight.
In the early days of the pandemic, a time of reckoning for the industry, airlines parked their A380s, converted them to freighters or scrapped them. However, as the industry has recovered, about a third of the global fleet has started to fly again. According to Simple Flying, seven airlines led by Emirates have reactivated 79 aircraft from the Airbus A380 family.
Related: Airlines flying the A380
Featured image by Groupe Duval and Frédéric Deleuze.
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