MEMPHIS, Tenn. – For 30 years, tourists from around the world have paid money to get a look inside two airplanes once owned by Elvis Presley at Graceland in Memphis. Fans enjoy touring the planes for their direct connection to Presley and his jet-setting lifestyle, a sort of touchstone to the life of the king of rock ’n’ roll and his family.
By April of next year, the planes named Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II could be gone.
Elvis Presley Enterprises, which operates the Graceland tourist attraction, has written to the planes’ owners saying they should prepare to remove the jets by next spring.
The planes have been a tourist attraction since the mid-1980s. They had been sold after Presley’s death, and were eventually purchased by OKC Partnership in Memphis.
OKC Partnership and Graceland agreed to bring the two jets to the home. The agreement called for OKC to receive a cut of ticket sales in return for keeping the planes there.
In an April 7 letter to OKC’s K.G. Coker, Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden said the home is exercising its option to end the agreement and asks Coker “to make arrangements for the removal of the airplanes and the restoration of the site on or shortly after April 26, 2015.”
Dedicated Elvis fan Paul Fivelson of Algonquin, Ill., said he expects many fans will be upset to hear the planes may be leaving.
“The people who come to Memphis for Elvis Week like seeing those planes there because it’s just part of the whole aura of what Elvis was about,” Fivelson said. “It would be kind of blasphemous to take them away.”