Cotswold Airport reopens bookings for hugely popular “Flight Before Christmas” experience

In an announcement that has come a little out-of-season, Cotswold Airport has opened bookings for what it describes as “the world’s-first grotto experience onboard a jumbo jet.”

The experience, which previously ran in 2022, is popular with families and helps fund the preservation of the airport’s own Boeing 747-400 airliner, which was acquired in 2020 following British Airways’ retirement of the type. The aircraft, nicknamed “Negus”, is now a multi-purpose events venue, and was formerly one of three 747s painted in heritage schemes for BA’s 100th anniversary four years ago.

It is hoped that the operation of such tours will safeguard the aircraft for years to come – in contrast, the airport was forced to scrap its previous events aircraft, a Boeing 747-200 which was formerly of defunct cargo operator MK Airlines before its impoundment by the airport in 2010, last year due to corrosion issues stemming from a lack of ongoing preservation work in recent months and years. The aircraft was previously used as a weddings venue, among other purposes.

“Negus” was first opened to the public on Wednesday 2nd March 2022 and is currently open to the public for tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The “Flight Before Christmas” experience will see the aircraft transformed into a “world of magic and wonder” which will be filled with “filled with interactive workshops and engaging activities” between 25 November – 24 December 2023.