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Apr 10, 2003, 06:04 AM
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Bill Glover's Avatar

End of an era - Concorde being withdrawn from service

Title says it all really. This aircraft was an amazing technical achievement and still looks stunning, but from October the only place you'll see one will be in a museum

Concorde is to be retired from service.

BA and Air France say the 1,320mph supersonic aircraft is being axed for "commercial reasons, with passenger revenue falling steadily against a backdrop of rising maintenance costs for the aircraft".

The announcement brings to an end a supersonic era which began when the 100-seater Concorde made its first flight in 1969, followed by the start of passenger services in 1976.

BA says detailed discussions, over an extended period, with Airbus, the aircraft's manufacturer, had confirmed the need for an enhanced maintenance programme in the coming years.

The airline went on: "BA has decided that such an investment cannot be justified in the face of falling revenue caused by a global downturn in demand for all forms of premium travel in the airline industry."

It adds the downturn has had a negative impact on Concorde bookings and is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

BA's chief executive Rod Eddington said: "Concorde has served us well and we are extremely proud to have flown this marvellous and unique aircraft for the past 27 years."

Retiring Concorde will result in 84 million write-off costs for the year ended March 2003.

BA says it is already planning to make its Concordes available for the public to view in museums.

BA will continue to operate its Concorde services until October. Air France will withdraw the service at the end of May
Apr 10, 2003, 06:30 AM
Turbines suck ;-)
Bet that there will be a rush of bookings for flights between now and October - now............let me count my pennies !
Apr 10, 2003, 06:38 AM
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Bill Glover's Avatar
IIRC all the short 'pleasure flight' trips they've done in the past have sold out, it's just that people don't want to pay >8k to fly the Atlantic.

So I reckon they should cost up some 40 min flights from Heathrow or whatever, bet they'd have people queuing!

I'm surprised no big business tycoon has offered to buy a Concorde yet ... the ultimate bizjet?!
Apr 10, 2003, 07:20 AM
ChrisP's Avatar
I was lucky enough to sit in the first British prototype during construction and the full-size wooden mock-up at Filton in the 60's.

I dearly hope that the museum at Sinsheim (Germany) gets one.
They already have a Tu 144 Concordski that is accessible to the public and it would be absolutely outstanding if they had both of the SST's side by side.

I saw one of the Air France Concordes parked way off at one end of Charles de Gaulle airport last weekend and it looked a bit forlorn. Excuse me if a small tear wells up in the corner of my eye !
Apr 10, 2003, 07:25 AM
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Bill Glover's Avatar
Spooky ... I sat in the left-hand seat of the same aircraft (002) at Yeovilton in the 70s! That was just after it arrived at the Fleet Air Arm museum there.
Apr 10, 2003, 07:58 AM
small electrics r BIG FUN
Sad news, and a giant leap backwards for passenger flight. Although I never got to see one in person, the skies will be much emptier without them. My goodness: we're back to a full working day to cross the pond again.

Apr 10, 2003, 07:59 AM
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Originally posted by ChrisP
I was lucky enough to sit in the first British prototype during construction.
Me too.

My father worked for RR at the time and although he wasn't on the Concorde project, he sneaked me in one day for a personal tour.
Apr 10, 2003, 08:30 AM
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Bill Glover's Avatar
SAP (big software company) have a training centre right next to one of the runways at Heathrow, on a main road that runs parallel. Last time I was there the wind direction was such that Concorde started its takeoff roll directly in front of the building From the 2nd floor we had a perfect view, the whole place shook too - awesome! The lecturers knew when the flights were, and always stopped just before to let people watch
Apr 10, 2003, 08:38 AM
small electrics r BIG FUN
Must be something to witness. I 've heard the Concorde's takeoff described as "it sounds like the sky is falling".
Apr 10, 2003, 08:50 AM
Registered User
Originally posted by Al P
Must be something to witness. I 've heard the Concorde's takeoff described as "it sounds like the sky is falling".
It's a unique sound. Four massive engines with afterburners. Closest I've heard to it elsewhere was a performance by two F-4 Phantom's at full volume with afterburners on. OUCH!
Apr 10, 2003, 08:56 AM
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That really is going to be a sad day.

Since I too work close to Heathrow 11am just isn't going to be the same after October. Lovely noise but you wouldn't want to be too close to it .

Apr 10, 2003, 10:35 AM
..teach monkeys to fly..
Marten's Avatar

Halifax International, circa 1976...

waiting for engine parts. I think Rod Stewart was on that flight.
I should Photoshop the tractor in the foreground I suppose.

Apr 10, 2003, 11:37 AM
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Originally posted by Al P
Must be something to witness. I 've heard the Concorde's takeoff described as "it sounds like the sky is falling".
Oh yeah!
Apr 10, 2003, 12:16 PM
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Tony Oliver's Avatar


We had a Concorde visit our local airport (Teesside) and I was lucky enough to accompany my pal who was a press photographer. He was assigned the job of photographing the occasion. Beautiful, graceful design, even close-up.

Nearest thing I've heard to Concorde's take-off was a B1b at Waddington airshow a few years back.

Am I right in thinking the 'Bone ' needs to keep in reheat to stay at Mach 2? Concorde, of course, doesn't.

Now that's a feat in itself, especialy if you remember that the thing first flew operationally 25 years ago.

Apr 10, 2003, 03:38 PM
Professional idiot

A sad day indeed

A true feat of engineering especially given that the French and Brits managed to talk to each other long enough to design the thing

I used to live under the flightpath and would always stop to watch it fly over.

Powered flight has come a long way in a hundred years and amazing to think this thing has been around for over a third of it.


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