By: AirTravellerPH Staff
It was that iconic airplane restaurant in the 1980s located at the MIASCOR compound along NAIA Rd., right beside the present Duty Free mall. Kids of the 1980s are for sure familiar with this Boeing 707-300, rumored as "Elvis Presley's aircraft". More than just being the only airplane restaurant during that time, it was the aircraft any avgeek kid can get closest to without having to pay for an expensive air ticket.
Club 707 was not just an airplane restaurant, it was a restaurant that served quality food! Despite being somewhat pricey during that time, it attracted a lot of curious diners. Even our very own Editor-in-Chief Mond Ortiz was able to attend a birthday party there when he was 7 years old. Before he took his first airplane ride in 1987 aboard a Philippine Airlines HS748, Mond was so inlove with airplanes and dining at Club 707 was like always a dream come true as it was his chance to always get close to a real deal airplane.
The aircraft was filled with dining tables, a bar, and couches. It was actually spacious. You can even go up the cockpit, sit on the chairs, and flick switches, a lot of them! The windows are just somehow not so clear whenever you would try to take a peak outside. It had pictures of Elvis Presley all around. Music was also Elvis. Nevertheless, it was an iconic restaurant in Manila, and many of the 80s kids can attest to that.
What is the real deal story though of the Boeing 707 known as Club 707? During the 80s, Philippine Airlines did not have 707s even after they absorbed Air Manila International who was operating the said aircraft. Many are saying that it used to be Elvis Presley's aircraft, but was it really his?
Club 707 is a Boeing 707-321 series, delivered to Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) on March 6, 1960 with registration number N728PA. It was orignally named "Jet Clipper Peerless" as Pan Am would always name its aircraft with a "Clipper". It then joined International Control Corp, then three more owners before being brought to Manila in 1970s.
It is also said that Robert Vesco owned the airplane before going into hiding, which was then later on purchased by Air Manila International, which operated 5 Boeing 707s at that time. This Boeing 707 carried registration RP-C911.
Air Manila International was set to have a new paint scheme, hence, the blue and red strips on its fuselage similar to that of Philippine Airlines.
Based on stories, when Air Manila International (AMI) and Filipinas Orient Airways were merged into Philippine Airlines after the government took over, C911 was sold to a certain Marinio Cua in 1982. The aircraft's AMI stripes which extend all the way to the vertical stablizers were retained. Cua and his group then decided to turn C911 into a restaurant, and named it "Club 707".
Now many remains to still be a mystery as to what happened to the airplane. Where was it brought? As far as we know, it was not flyable anymore so was it just scrapped in Manila? Another mystery is if it was really owned by Elvis Presley? Some has it that Cua was a huge Elvis fan hence, he had the picture of the 1960s iconic singer all over.
Many are also saying that the aircraft being owned by Elvis is another legend and it has not been proven if the singer did own N728PA, N11RV, N99WT, and then RP-C911.
As for now, Club 707 still remains to be a strong memory among the 80s kids in Metro Manila especially those who live in the south. It may be gone but its memories will remain in the hearts of those who had seen and dined in it.