British Airways Concorde Services to Barbados re-started on the 1st December when Concorde G-BOAF piloted by Captain Les Brodie Touched down, with 76 passengers on-board, at Grantley Adams International Airport 15 minutes ahead of schedule at 9:30 Local time..
This was the first of 21 return flights that will fly to the island every Saturday up until the 13th of April 2002. Many of these flights are now sold out to Concorde's maximum capacity of 100 passengers. On some Saturdays, including Christmas Eve, two services will operate due to the level of Demand.
The flight departs from London Heathrow every Saturdays at 9.30am UK time and arrives in Barbados three hours and fifty minutes later at 9.45am local time. The return departs Barbados on Saturdays at 11.45am local time and arrives at Heathrow at around 8.00pm UK time.
Island tourism officials gave the flight crew and passengers a red carpet welcome. Minister of Tourism and International Transport Noel Lynch said the Concorde's return could attract more scheduled and chartered services to the island.
"The Concorde's image contributes immensely to aspects of our national economic development profile by being a platform for major investment in the sector and increased linkages to help further grow the Barbadian economy," said Lynch.
"It plays a key role in branding Barbados, strengthening the value proposition we make to our customers and potential customers and has paved the way for us to continue to attract more and diverse scheduled as well as chartered services into Barbados. We will do all in our power to keep it flying for many years to come."
The minister said Barbados had the distinction of being the only destination outside the United States to which the BA Concorde flew from Europe.
He revealed that bookings for the Heathrow Airport, London-Bridgetown service on Concorde remained strong, with some overbooking during the peak winter period.
"This further strengthens the brand enhancement premise, differentiating Barbados from the rest of the competition in what is now projected to be a very diminished . . . hospitality market," he said.
Rod Eddington, British Airways' chief executive, said: "We are delighted that bookings for Concorde to Barbados are so strong. We are working with many tour operators in the UK to put together special competitively priced Concorde inclusive packages."
"Concorde bookings to New York are also going extremely well and since November 7 when the airline re-started scheduled services load factors have consistently been in excess of 70 per cent."
Meanwhile back in the UK work is progressing on the modification programme on Concorde G-BOAD, with it due to return to flight status early in the new year. Next into the Majors hanger at Heathrow in 2002 will be the Flagship of Flagships, G-BOAC (it carries the letters of BA's forerunner BOAC).
Once 5 aircraft are completed and in service, work is expected to start on Concorde G-BOAA's scheduled intermediate check and modification programme. "Alpha Alpha" is expected to be the first Concorde to be fitted with the full cabin upgrade; which includes new washrooms and lighting effects at the point the speed of sound is reached.
In France is is expected that Concorde F-BVFA will take to the skies again in mid to late Jan 2002 after the competion of its modifications. After Air France have 4 aircraft in-service, Concorde F-BVFF will under go its 12,000 hr "D" major check