PYTCHAir: a unique venue for your next event
While jetting off on a plane has been an alien concept for most of us over the last year, event technology service PYTCH has found a new, more unconventional use for an aircraft.
The Bristol-based company, led by entrepreneur Johnny Palmer, has acquired a private jet, dubbed PYTCHAir, which it plans to use as a rented “multi-purpose creative, collaboration, communication and enjoyment space”.
Although purchased at a discounted price, the aircraft is worth around £40m. If able to fly, it would be “by far the most expensive office space that has ever been installed in Bristol,” Palmer says, who also claims it is the only such use of this aircraft type in Europe.
The jet is planned to ‘take off’ via a lorry at 20mph down the M5, M4 and M32 and will be assisted by a police escort.
“There will likely be traffic disruptions,” warns Palmer, with the “visual spectacle” of the escort expected to take up two lanes on the motorway.
It will travel this Saturday (27 February) to arrive at PYTCH’s HQ in Brislington, South-East Bristol, where it will then be hoisted into position with a 60-metre crane the next day.
It’s certainly not your average lockdown weekend. But why exactly is Palmer doing this?
The tech entrepreneur, whose company rebranded from SXS Events to PYTCH last September, says he needed more office space urgently having lost it to studio and greenrooms.
“I needed more space to get built fast, but rather than do resource and carbon-intensive construction, I thought we could upcycle something. So I thought let’s go for something crazy and out there and buy a private jet,” he said.
Palmer has been planning the idea since 2018 and then got permission from Bristol City Council in October. A month later he bought the plane he had been eyeing up ever since he discovered it was disused at Cotswold Airport.
Once in Bristol, the aircraft is planned to be the centrepiece of Palmer’s business estate, or “tech empire”, which includes his other company Intelligo.
Palmer says the project has “taken the internet by storm” and been picked up internationally. But what has the response been like overall?
“It seems to have polarised people in our sphere, but people who work for us and with us absolutely love it. And then some of the people on the outside seem to roll their eyes a little bit, which is fine by me,” said Palmer.
He added: “I think right now a lot of people in the industry are having a tough time and when some people see someone doing interesting, exciting and positive stuff, they struggle with that. “But I think also people probably see it as a bit of a PR stunt, which it is as well, so we’re all aligned!”
Palmer has the ambitious plan of reinstating and connecting the avionics of the aircraft including cockpit and beacon lights, ventilation and heating systems.
The jet with a 70s style interior will be placed above shipping containers painted to look like clouds. The tops of the containers will be disguised as a runway with landing lights and access will be via a rear staircase resembling airport stair trucks.
The aircraft, formerly owned by a Saudi prince, is to be used as a breakaway filming space and for meetings and hospitality.
Going forward, Palmer says he wants the space, able to comfortably seat around 15 people, to be used for immersive events such as dining and performance experiences.
“Because it’s such an unusual context, I think it gives a creative opportunity to get people to think and interact differently and just experiment with new concepts around communication and events,” he said.