Sunday, April 20, 2003

Concorde for retirement

As has been widely covered in the media, British Airways and Air France have jointly announced that they will now cease Concorde services this year. British Airways have said that they will donate their entire fleet to museums and other display sites, after services finish on 30th September. A number of museums outside the UK have stated for some time that on retirement they would like a Concorde - namely the Smithsonians Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles Airport, and The Auto & Technik Museum at Sinsheim in Germany, who already have a Tupolev Tu-144. These may be Air France or British Airways examples.

It is believed that around 30 museums have requested a Concorde - the front runners must be the Bristol Aero Collection, who plan to move to Filton, (where British Concordes were assembled) this winter, and the Brooklands Aviation Museum, where a large number of major sections were built. The Bristol Aero Collection have requested G-BOAF (Concorde 216), which was the last one built in the UK. Other museums thought to be in the running are the Royal Air Force Museum at Cosford, the Museum of Flight at East Fortune, the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington, the new Airliner Park at Manchester Airport, and the Bristol Heritage Collection in Nashville,Tennessee. British Airways also wish to retain a Concorde for display at Heathrow Airport, probably on the entrance road.

Of the 7 strong fleet, four are believed to be currently in service - G-BOAC, G-BOAD, G-BOAE and G-BOAG - and will continue until the end of September. G-BOAA has been withdrawn from use for some time, with no plans to make it airworthy. G-BOAB has also been grounded, but kept airworthy, and would have been the next aircraft to be brought up to post-Paris standards. G-BOAF is out of hours, and was due for a 3 month check. Therefore, both 'AB and 'AF are airworthy, but could not be used for passenger services.

UPDATE - G-BOAF returned to service during the summer.