RETURN TO FLIGHT

Archive Story : 4-09-01

Air France committed to Concorde

After the recent training flights that Air France have been carrying out both at Paris' Charles de Gaulle and out of Vatry airports they reaffirmed on Tuesday 4th Sept its intention to restart services with Concorde as soon as the aircraft would is given its CofA, although its profitability for the company is not very high.

Over the past year, Air France always indicated that it wished to use the aircraft on schedules services to New York as soon as it was re-certified, indicated Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, during the presentation of the quarterly results of the Air France group.

For one year, "We have been in a particular situation where we have had expenditure related to Concorde -- the crews, maintenance -- but we do not have any income ", indicated Mr. Gourgeon, during a media conference.

For the first quarter of its 2000/2001 (April-June 2000), the service of the Concorde fleet had generated a positive operational result higher than 5 million euros ", he specified. This year, in the first quarter of the year (April-June 2001), " we have a clear loss, a cost since there is no income, of approximately 2.7M EUR ", he added.

" When we take to the air again, we will put income opposite the costs which we have in this moment ", he indicated.

" We think that it takes a certain time to restore the penetration of the market and the attractiveness of the product, perhaps a few months, perhaps a little more ", he said.

" We will supervise that constantly and we will make the decisions which are essential if we note that the economy is not appropriate to us and that it is necessary to adjust our forecasts on the use of this plane ", it concluded.

Pierre-Henri Gourgeon statement comes after many successful training flights with Concorde F-BVFB, the first Air France aircraft to be modified. Several thousands people, whose cars created congestion around the airport at Vatry all day on the 30th of August, massed behind the fences of the runways at airport from the very start of morning in spite of the beating rain, to get a glimpse of the Air France flagship.

After a mid-morning arrival the aircraft completed several training sorties of take of and landing circuits, before the aircraft returned to Paris. Further training for crews took place on the 4th of September, which involved several supersonic training flights out into the Atlantic and then back to Paris.

Picture from Reuters via Yahoo

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