LATEST NEWS

STORY ARCHIVE Aug 2003

 

Boston and Washington confirmed on US tour - 18/8/2003

British Airways has selected Boston and Washington as the only two US cities to receive a special one-off farewell visit from Concorde.

The aircraft will make a scheduled supersonic flight from London to Boston on Wednesday, October 8, and to Washington Dulles a week later on October 14th.

"This last once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly Concorde directly to Boston is a wonderful way for British Airways to say thank you to the people of this great city and to celebrate Concorde's heritage," said David Noyes, executive vice president, North America.

"For more than half a century, Bostonians have been strong supporters of British Airways," Mr. Noyes said. "And British Airways is very proud to be able to fly Concorde into Boston for this farewell visit before her retirement on October 24th."

Of British Airways' 23 gateways in North America only Boston, Washington, DC and Toronto will receive farewell visits from the supersonic flagship. These special Concorde flights and fares will be available worldwide but initially only bookings in North America will be taken.

British Airways Concordes began their first services to the United States with London to Dulles service in May 1976 with Concorde G-BOAC. In June this year, Air France made a final Concorde flight from Paris to Washington, and then donated the jet to the Smithsonian Institution. The museum will display the plane at its new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum near Dulles, which opens in December. British Airways is taking reservations for the final London to Dulles flight.

For the Concorde farewell flights to the US, British Airways is offering transatlantic round-trip fares on a first come-first serve basis for flights to London on one of the airline's daily services from Washington or Boston with supersonic return on Concorde to the departure city on October 8 or 14th

The Celebration Fare for travel to/from London is:

  • $7,999 Travel to London one way in Club World (business class), return on Concorde - either Concorde BA1215 from London to Boston on October 8th, 2003 or Concorde BA1223 from London to Washington DC on October 14th, 2003
  • $8,999 Travel to London one way in FIRST, return on Concorde - either Concorde BA1215 from London to Boston on October 8th, 2003 or Concorde BA1223 from London to Washington DC on October 14th, 2003

The flight from London to Boston will take just three hours and 50 minutes and to Washington will take four hours and 20 minutes. Concorde will depart London-Heathrow at 4.30 p.m. (local London time) for each flight.

It is expected that the aircraft will ferry to New York's JFK airport the day after it has arrived in Boston or Washington.


Concorde to visit Toronto as part of "mini" North American tour - 13/8/2003

British Airways has selected Toronto as one of only three North American cities to receive a special farewell visit from Concorde.

The aircraft will make a scheduled supersonic flight from London to Toronto on Wednesday, October 1.

"This last once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly Concorde, directly to Toronto, is a wonderful way for British Airways to say thank you to the people of this great city and to celebrate Concorde's heritage," said David Noyes, executive vice president BA for North America.

"For more than 40 years, Torontonians have been strong supporters of British Airways," Mr. Noyes said. "And British Airways is very proud to be able to fly Concorde into Canada one last time before her retirement on October 24th."

Seats on these Concorde flights will be available worldwide, although only bookings in North America will be taken in the first five days of the sale.

For the Concorde farewell flight to Toronto, British Airways is offering transatlantic round-trip fares on a first-come first-served basis for flights to London on one of British Airways' two daily flights from Toronto with supersonic return on Concorde to the city on October 1.

The Celebration Fare for travel to/from London on Oct 1 is:

  • One way in World Traveller Plus, return on Concorde BA097 for C$7,999
  • One way in Club World, return on Concorde BA097 for C$8,999
  • One way in First Class, return on Concorde BA097 for C$9,999

The flight from London to Toronto will take just four hours and 20 minutes. Concorde will leave London Heathrow at 4.10 p.m. (local London time) and arrive Toronto at 3.30 p.m. (local Toronto time). There will be a second opportunity for Canadians to fly Concorde on Thursday, October 2 when the aircraft departs Pearson International Airport at 6 p.m. for New York's JFK Airport, arriving in New York at 7:55 p.m. EST.

Concorde (G-BOAC) last visited the airport in October 1999.

Those who want to experience Concorde for the subsonic flight to New York will be able to book a special one-way fare of $999.

The aircraft is expected to head out from JFK to the 2 other US cities on the tour.

The picture, by Glen Hall, shows Concorde at Toronto on one of its first visits in 1979.


Barbados prepares to bid farewell to Concorde - 11/8/2003

With the last scheduled supersonic flight to Barbados set for August 30th, the people of this Caribbean island are preparing to bid farewell to the icon that has graced their island for nearly 15 years, and that has helped to build their very successful tourist industry.

British Airways started their scheduled service to the island on December 12th, 1987. The airline would operate a weekly Saturday flight throughout the UK winter, when UK-based celebrities and VIP would jet off in search of some winter sun. In recent years the airline operated the weekly service in the August peak holiday month, while at peak times around Christmas and New Year three or four flights a week were not uncommon, either scheduled services or charters. One day has seen two BA and one AF aircraft on the ramp at the same time!

The final scheduled Concorde flight will depart from the island's Grantley Adams International (BGI) airport on August 30. The Royal Barbados Police Band will send the passengers off in grand style through a trumpeted guard of honour as the airliner departs for what is expected to be the final time.

As the final countdown for Concorde flights draws closer, Prime Minister Arthur yesterday led a delegation aboard the prestigious aircraft to attend a Concorde retirement function in London. The Barbadian Prime Minister has chosen London as the place to relax during a week-long visit to the United Kingdom.

The delegation included the Minister of Tourism and International Transport Noel Lynch and the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Senator John Williams.

Speaking to the media, minutes before the supersonic jet made its way down the runway of the Grantley Adams airport, Arthur lamented that the "special relationship between British Airways and Barbados is coming to an end".

He stated that the trip had been extended to mark the conclusion of that relationship, adding that it came at a time when the tourism industry seemed to be on a rebound. Hence it would be favourable to see the association between Barbados and British Airways continued, even if this particular aspect of the relationship was soon coming to an end.

It has been suggested that Concorde would visit Barbados for one final time on October 24th, on the very same day that the airline performs it final-ever supersonic passenger service from New York. Like New York, Barbados has played a large part in the success of British Airways' Concorde services, adding significantly to the airline's profits.


British heatwave forces Concorde to stop for more fuel in Gander - 7/8/2003

With temperatures surging into the 90s Fahrenheit in London (34 degrees Celsius), British Airways were forced to plan for a refueling stop on the BA001 flagship route to New York.

Like any airliner: as the temperatures go up, engine performance goes down. For Concorde, engine performance is critical on take-off. With not as much raw power being generated due to the heat, more runway is required to get off the ground for a given weight.

With heatwave conditions, you can't just go out and add a few hundred meters to the runway, but you can reduce the weight somewhat. In the past, under hot conditions there would have been a good chance that the aircraft would not have been full, or that a few passengers could have been offered to fly on another service (and get a free Concorde trip as compensation!), but with only 79 days of Concorde flying to go, every flight is full, with people wanting to have the flight of a lifetime on Concorde.

Yesterday BA took the decision to lower the amount of fuel on-board the aircraft, and if required carry out a "technical stop" to load on some extra fuel at Gander in Newfoundland, to ensure all the passengers would get to fly.

Concorde G-BOAC flew the flight; and although the crew had a fuel plan that would take them all the way to New York should they get better performance that expected, they did end up landing at Gander to re-fuel.

The tech stop would hardly have disappointed the enthusiastic passengers on-board... Two Concorde take-offs for the price on one!

If the hot weather continues as forecast, it could be expected that other flights this week may also have to stop for additional fuel, including the Barbados flight on Saturday, which would either stop off in Portugal or in the Azores. The return legs of those flights are not affected.....it is cooler in Barbados than it is in the UK!! (Update - the Barbados flight was non-stop due to a early departure before the temp climbed too high)

Picture at Gander courtesy of Eric Seiden who was on board. Check out his Concorde tribute site at www.darsys.com/concorde.html


British Airways considering museum bids - 5/8/2003

The British Airways board is considering the final bids from the shortlisted museums that are bidding for Concorde. The shortlisted museums were asked to submit detailed proposals that would include their plans on putting the aircraft on show to the public and how it would be maintained in the future.

It is understood that British Airways have appointed the head of the airline's procurement for aircraft systems, Bryan Mitchell, to come up with the disposal plan that would be rubber-stamped by the BA board of management. Mr Mitchell is understood to have visited a few of the sites on the shortlist to go over their plans.

The local media outlets from some of the museums bidding for the aircraft have presented further evidence to BA on why their local museums should be given a Concorde.

Filton, where the UK Concordes were built, is understood to be top of the shortlist. They want Concorde 216 (G-BOAF), the final Concorde ever built, to be retired to the airfield.

The Bristol Evening News newspaper delivered an 8000 signature petition to the airline's HQ last week, ahead of the first key board meeting. The petition was delivered to Bryan Mitchell and to Martin George, BA's director of marketing. Mr George told the Bristol Evening News that the petition would go a "long way" to cementing Filton's place in Concorde's history after it is taken out of service in October.

He said: "Local interest is extremely important to us and this petition will undoubtedly have a big effect on the board and will make a significant difference to the chances of Filton being given one of the aircraft."

Other smaller museums around the UK have submitted bids, including the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington. Local politicians have got on board, together with their local newspaper, to help the museum land one of the fleet. Yorkshireman Sir George Cayley invented the first manned aeroplane 150 years ago and a replica of his design is at Elvington. The Concorde would go on display next to it.

Other museums considered to be favourites to land an aircraft are: Manchester Airport, the Intrepid Air and Space Museum in New York, the Brooklands Museum at Weybridge (where major components of Concorde were manufactured), Heathrow Airport, the Seattle Museum of Flight, and the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, already home to one of the development aircraft.

The final destinations for BA's fleet of 5 serviceable and 3 unserviceable aircraft are expected to be made public within two weeks and will be reported here on this website as soon as they are announced.

The pictures show G-BOAF's nose with G-BOAC in the background, while the 2nd shows G-BOAF being towed to Terminal 4


Concorde memorabilia being snapped up - 1/8/03

As Concorde enters its final few months in service, souvenir hunters across the world are snapping up every last item they can get their hands on at premium prices.

The on-line auction site eBay has seen a 100% increase in Concorde items since the announcement that the fleet was going to be retired. Everything, from a copy of the free BA newspaper announcing the end of the Concorde era (sold for £50) to front faces from a set of actual engine instruments (sold for £150 each) have been auctioned on the site.

One original product that has recently be put on sale by enthusiasts, is a special limited edition 3D Concorde, engrained in a block of crystal. No more that 100 of these will be sold, making it even more unique. The crystal shows a Concorde taking off from Heathrow runway 09L with another aircraft on the stand at terminal 4.

These are being marketed separately and are available on-line for only £40 from the Concorde Crystal website.

Not to be outdone by the privateers, British Airways have launched a website for enthusiasts to buy official Concorde souvenirs.

The website, www.ba-concordecollection.com, features a collection of 10 classic Concorde products. They include cufflinks and keyrings by Links of London, plus picture frames and money clips by Carrs. Prices range from £10 to £65.

Throughout August and September a further 20 products will be added to the website for customers to choose from.

For collectors wishing to get their hands of former Concorde on-board souvenirs, London-based Avro House are selling everything thinkable from silver luggage tags and silver photo frames to the current and former in-flight folders that contain a Concorde-branded notebook, Concorde-branded writing paper and envelopes, a Concorde flight certificate, Concorde postcards and a Concorde information and history booklet.

The company also have on sale a set of Concorde leather seats that were on-board the aircraft between 1984 and 1990.

These are available from their Concorde Collectables website.

Air France are planning to auction off all their remaining Concorde spare parts, once the BA aircraft are withdrawn from service at the end of October. Full details of this auction will be on this site when available.


Concorde-style tyre confirmed for the A380

The Michelin-developed NZG (Near Zero Growth) tyre has been confirmed as the primary tyre for the new Airbus A380 Super Jumbo when it will be flight-tested in 2005.

The NZG tyres, developed by Michelin for Concorde following the accident on July 25, 2000, were designed to be near enough indestructible.

"The Concorde NZG tyres will be fitted to the A380, which means that the research task carried out by Michelin will not be lost because of the end of the Concorde flights," Michel Rollier, the financial director of Michelin, declared after meeting the press at the semi-annual results of his group.

This news was confirmed by Airbus, who did specify, however, that Michelin was not the only tyre maker retained for the A380. "Michelin and Bridgestone are retained for the moment", the company told AFP.

The NZG (Near Zero Growth) tyre was designed in 2001 by Michelin to equip Concorde after the accident. The old design, from the other tyre manufacturer, Goodyear, had played a part in the accident chain, when a piece of metal ruptured a tyre, throwing a 4 kg chunk against the underside of the integral wing fuel tank causing it to fail.

The NZG tyres use a new material which reinforces the architecture of the product considerably, making it more solid and resistant to foreign bodies. In the event of a tyre failing, it would burst into many small pieces, so as not to damage the structure of the aircraft.

This is yet another technology developed for Concorde that will be fitted to the aircraft of today and tomorrow, proving once again that Concorde's use was not simply that of a supersonic airliner but one of leading the European aircraft industry forward by innovation.

Other key Concorde-developed technologies, such as fly-by-wire control and carbon brakes, are now standard worldwide.