Lockheed Starliner Headed to JFK for Second Life as Cocktail Lounge

Oct 8, 2018

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A rare Lockheed Starliner that spent decades sitting in a Maine airport is headed to New York City for its second act — as a cocktail lounge in the much-anticipated TWA hotel at New York-JFK.

According to an airport employee, the four-engine, triple-tailed, dolphin-shaped plane, manufactured in the late 1950s, was packed up onto a flatbed and headed south by way of truck, where it will be parked right outside the hotel. It’s already had its TWA livery and interiors restored. Before it went, though, the airport held a small ceremony to send it off.

“This is history being made,” airport manager Rick Lanman told the Lewiston Sun Journal. “Not only that, but we’re connecting Auburn-Lewiston now with John F. Kennedy airport, which is one of the world’s busiest airports. We talk about the impact that we make and what we do in this community, we talk about all the manufacturing and stuff that we do for the world. This is another example as far as I’m concerned.”

The Lockheed L-1649 was the last in the company’s Constellation series, and only 44 were ever built between its introduction in 1956 and the last to roll off the assembly line in 1958. This particular plane (registration no. N8083H, construction No. 1038), one of the four still in existence, has been sitting at Auburn-Lewiston Airport (LEW) since the 1980s. It’s most recently been used for spare parts as Lufthansa restores a sister Starliner to operational condition.

The TWA hotel will have 512 rooms, some with views of JFK runways. The Starliner, of course, will be just the latest in a series of planes turned into hotels, bars and restaurants.

Editor’s note: The word “crated” was changed to “packed up onto a flatbed” to more accurately reflect the moving process.

Featured image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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