Archive Story : 21/03/01

Air France Timetable Set for September Return -

Air France is aiming to get its grounded Concorde fleet back in the air and carrying passengers by September this year if safety authorities give the go-ahead, according to the airline's managing director, speaking to Flight International

"We hope to be able to resume Concorde flights in September," Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said. Both airlines have since carried out modifications, mainly to the fuel tanks, but they still have to be approved by British and French aviation officials before the jets can take off again, said Mr Gourgeon.

British Airways, which owns seven Concordes, has set an earlier target for the return to commercial service of its supersonic flagship plane. The UK airline hopes to be flying by late spring or early summer. "It is possible that British Airways could resume Concorde flights earlier but it is not a question of competition between us," Mr Gourgeon said.

The picture shows Concorde F-BTSD in the hanger in Paris completing it's "D" Check. F-BVFF, shown behind, will be next.
Picture courtesy of Max Kingsley-Jones/Flight International
Four of Air France's remain fleet of 5 aircraft have now been moved inside a hanger at CGD Airport, Paris. This will allow engineers to begin preliminary work for the modification programme. This prelimminary programme inclused the strengthening of the Wing spares, This was work that was required before the crash after cracks were discovered in the rear spars of both Airlines fleets. Preliminary work is also starting on gaining access to the fuel tanks for installation of the Kevlar based liners.

Air France has earmarked Concorde F-BVFB as the first French based aircraft to undergo the modifications programme. It was "Fox Bravo" which was the last Concorde flow to enable ground testing to take place at Istres in the South of France. The company hope to have 2 aircraft re-certified to allow a recommencement of the JFK route in September. British Airways Concorde policy always allows for a spare aircraft to be available so they will not restart their service untill there are 3 aircraft re-certified.

Air France will have a core Concorde fleet of four Aircraft with a fifth cycling through a maintenance cycle. The comany is also considering refurbishing the aircraft interiors, in a similar weight saving fashion to British Airways, but this decision has not yet been made. The airliner, before the accident, were planning operate the aircraft untill 2015, but now " Every issue reagrding the obsolescence of Concorde is being examined." according to an Air France spokesman.

Quotes, infomation and picture courtesy of Flight International.