Motorists using the M6 in Cheshire are set for a once-in-a-lifetime treat next month when the top deck of a Boeing 747 is set to make its final journey up the motorway.

Rather than part of a sombre funeral, it’s a signal of new life for what was one of British aviation’s last 747s used for commercial flying.

It’s part of British Airways’ G-BYGA aircraft and it will be travelling from Kemble on the edge of the Cotswolds up to Manchester, where it is set to become ‘The Deck’ - a unique visitors centre, flight simulator and tourist attraction.

Local airline memorabilia company Doors2Manual are now setting up ‘The Deck’ at City Airport in Salford. Not only saving the flight deck and top deck cabin from scrappage but also providing a lasting and permanent tribute to one of aviation history’s most-loved passenger aircraft.

Knutsford Guardian: The top deck has been cut away from the body of the aircraftThe top deck has been cut away from the body of the aircraft

The Deck will provide the perfect setting for educational and leisure tours, with the chance to get up close and personal with the pilot’s seat - even taking the controls to fly her as she becomes the UK's only 747 flight sim using a real aircraft flight deck.

Doors2Manual also have plans to create the Insta-dream wedding and conference venue for self-styled AvGeeks looking for the perfect day or that alternative staff away day location.

Drew Hanna, co-founder, Doors2Manual and Director, The Deck said: “This has been a dream of ours for a long, long time and we’re so excited to be finally getting ready for G-BYGA’s final journey to our hangar.

“I don’t think many of us will have witnessed a Boeing 747 driving up the motorway before so it’s set to be a sight many families and flight fanatics will never forget.

“We've been able to build Doors2Manual into one of the world's leading suppliers of airline memorabilia and parts.

“Now being able to salvage such a significant part of an iconic aircraft is our biggest thrill so far.”

Currently, the hangar at City Airport is being brought up to scratch with the most important date 11th August as G-BYGA herself will be transported on her 150-mile journey, giving flight fans and the media a unique opportunity to explore what happens when an iconic aircraft retires.

It’s all a knock-on impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc on the aviation industry. The Boeing 747s were the UK travel industry’s most high-profile casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic as the final 38 were sent for early retirement. British Airways scrapped all 31 of its 747s – 10 per cent of its entire fleet, while Virgin Atlantic put its last seven of the iconic aircraft out to pasture.

A previously released 747 has gone on to movie stardom as a prop in Star Wars and others have been reconfigured for cargo. Still more will end up in airplane ‘boneyards’, gathering dust in a distant desert, a far cry from their former glories, or even, as all flight fans know, be condemned to the ultimate indignity: being recycled into Coke cans! 

Karen Kearns, ops manager, Doors2Manual and Director, The Deck added: “The journey to Manchester’s original airport is just the start of a second life for the old girl and we’re so privileged to be able to give her a bright future.

“More than that, we know The Deck is going to provide the perfect backdrop to so many special days for flight fans and can’t wait to see people come back through the doors for tours, events and to get behind the yoke and fly her.”

Tracy Williams, business development manager of City Airport said: "We are thrilled and excited to welcome Drew, Karen and the team of The Deck and look forward to the arrival of Boeing 747 G-BYGA to our airport. 

“This will be a glorious sight to see and a fantastic addition to the Airport’s offering, saving one of the best known and well-loved, iconic aircraft there is and providing a unique opportunity for visitors to enter a real 747 cockpit.”

The 747 will make its way up the M6 to its new home on Thursday, August 11.

You can get more information on the progress of The Deck and live updates on the journey timings on the day on the company Instagram @thedeck747.