A hull is a hull is a hull & other uses of airplanes.

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The above title paraphrases Shakespeare’s line about roses in Romeo and Juliet; as with most of his writings, the real meaning was deeper than its superficial reading. Here the Bard of Avon intended to convey that “what matters is what something is, not what it is called.” Though there were no aeroplanes in Avon in 1600, the “hull is a hull is a hull” phrase is plainly obvious by virtue of these three articles.

Hull #1

The folks at Emirates are using their A-380 hull as an advertising billboard. As with Will, the Emirates message has double meaning. With the company’s name festooned across the aft section, it is a self-serving advertisement. But by featuring Cristiano Reynaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Marcelo of Real Madrid, they are publicizing the carrier’s sponsorship of that famous La Ligua football team.

A Hull can be a billboard.

airplane hull billboard


Hull #2

Bruce Campbell, a Building Services & Environmental Engineer, decided that an abandoned B-727 hull would make a great abode. His rational was that “jetliners retire at a rate of about three a day. For the most part, I think we shred them. And then, we spin around 180 degrees and make a home after having just shredded an aerospace-class home-sized structure.” He reasoned that “rectangular designs are structurally inferior which can’t withstand severe winds and earthquakes, are frequently broken into, kill people when they explode into flames, are leaky and degrade quickly. On the other hand, airplanes are ‘well designed, high tech, aerospace quality sealed pressure canisters that can withstand 575 mph winds and seven G acceleration forces with ease, could last for centuries (with effective corrosion control), are highly fire resistant, and provide superior security. They’re among the finest structures that mankind has ever built.’”

The hull once bore a Greek registry; so by grounding the B-727, Campbell was taking Daedalus’ advice to Icarus. Mr. BSAA, a hull, skillfully wrought.

A hull can be a house.

airplane hull house home


Hull #3

After three abandoned hulls sat on the tarmac for five years at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad decided that they needed to find the owner. The derelict aircraft had, presumably, accumulated major landing fees, tie-down charges and interest for the failure to pay. Zainol Mohd Isa, general manager of Kul sent out a legal notice in newspapers calling on the putative owner to claim its assets. Under the law cited, anyone with title had a 14 day period to prove its ownership or the airport proprietor had a right to “sale or dispose” the assets.

What was known was that in mid-2010 that Air Atlanta Icelandic owned the B-747s and brought them to Malaysia. Ownership of the planes was then transferred to China-based Shaanxi Sunshine Cargo, which has since ceased operating, and the planes are not currently registered to any company.

What is known, but inexplicable is why Kuala Lumpur? Most airplanes, which are sidelined or retired for scrap, are usually deposited in a desert, where the lack of humidity is beneficial to preserving the hull. The weather there is the antithesis of dryness with the average relative moisture is 62.2%. Why would a carrier intending to operate a B-747 as a cargo plane would intentionally expose it to rusting?

kuala lumpur

In response to the legal process, Swift Air Cargo, actually named “Splunk n’ Dash Sdn Bhd” until the Malaysian Directorate of Civil Aviation approves the change, put in its papers saying that the three hulls are its property. The title histories for its two proposed aircraft, as listed on the company website, are radically different than the airport’s chain of ownership. Swift plans to start a logistics airline from the Far East to South America and Africa. Logistics usually involve high value cargo for which the time value of transit time, i.e. shortening the transition from warehouse to market, can be absorbed in the cost of the goods. Neither of those sectors would appear to have the same demand as the traffic which moves through Memphis or Louisville.

These KUL hulls are a multiple mess—unclear title, assets sitting at rust prone airport and headed to an inappropriate use.

In summary, these three hull stories were not just hulls, but also their tales arose to be billboards, an abode and an enigma!


ARTICLE: Emirates emblazons Airbus A380 with Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid teammates 

ARTICLE: Man turns Retired Boeing 727 into a Unique Dwelling

ARTICLE:  Cargo company claims it owns three jumbo jets ‘abandoned’ at Malaysian airport after officials bought newspaper ads to find out who they belong to

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