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Posted: 5/29/2003 1:17:12 AM EDT
As an airplane nut since I was old enough to know what they were, seeing this girl go to the hanger for the last time really hurts. I’ll probably be dead before we see another SST or an true aero spacecraft given the environmentalists, lead times measured in decades and multi-billion dollar development costs. [url]http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1051390395964[/url] Air France prepares for the end of Concorde By Kevin Done, Aerospace Correspondent Published: May 28 2003 21:24 | Last Updated: May 28 2003 21:24 The arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport of flight AF001 from New York on Saturday will mark the beginning of the end for Concorde, the Anglo-French supersonic icon. Air France has been quickest off the mark and keenest to stop the losses of the world's only successful supersonic airliner, which it first flew commercially more than 27 years ago on January 21, 1976 with two flights a week on the Paris-Dakar-Rio de Janeiro route. Fare-paying passengers have been difficult to find during the last 18 months of global economic slowdown, which has taken a heavy toll on the first class travelling habits of the rich. Air France officially gives up the battle on May 31 after taking a €59m charge to retire the fleet. No French equivalent of Virgin Atlantic chairman Sir Richard Branson, should such a one exist, has stepped forward to agitate to take the aircraft off Air France's hands, and the French carrier has given short shrift to the British entrepreneur's own single-handed efforts to save Concorde. British Airways flies on bravely to October, when all its commercial Concorde flights will also cease, although in a possible sop to Sir Richard, the airline said it was studying the feasibility of co-operating with a UK museum to keep one aircraft in operational condition for grand flypasts and air shows. A spokeswoman for Sir Richard said on Wednesday that he had "not given up on the hope that we will be able to keep Concorde flying in one way or another." She said that Sir Richard was waiting for a response from a recent meeting with Airbus, the manufacturer, that would have to continue technical support for the aircraft to keep it flying. Airbus poured cold water on such hopes however. "There is no response," said a spokeswoman, "we explained to them that continuing flying operations is not viable. Period. The facts don't change." By the end of next month four of Air France's remaining fleet of five Concordes will already be parked at their final destinations at museums. The fifth, which can no longer fly, will roll across the tarmac to go on display at Charles de Gaulle . In France the airline has chosen the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace at Le Bourget, along with the future air museum, still under construction, at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, close to the site of the old Sud Aviation factory, where Concorde 001 the first prototype took its maiden flight on March 2, 1969. It is also donating one to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, whether as a lasting testimony to French technological superiority in the US capital or as a peace offering to the White House, Air France would not comment on Wednesday night. The fourth will go to the private Technik Museum Speyer at Sinsheim, near Heidelberg, one of the world's fastest growing collections of aircraft, cars and steam trains which already boasts the only model on show outside Russia of the Tupolev Tu144, Russia's Concordski, which narrowly beat Concorde into the skies on December 31, 1968, but never succeeded commercially. Its international future was doomed after it crashed at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in 1973. British Airways also has the Smithsonian on its list for one of its Concordes, along with the national aviation museum at Seattle, home town of Boeing, and the Airbus UK site at Filton, Bristol, where the British Aircraft Corporation's Concordes were built. One will be saved to go on display at the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport, and the airline is considering other requests from Manchester and Scotland. Hermann Layher, founder and head of the Sinsheim museum in Germany, was cock-a-hoop at the coup of adding an Air France Concorde to his collection. It will fly next month to Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport, then proceed by barge on the Rhine and by motorway to the museum. Mr Layher promised to have it displayed on the museum roof, apparently poised ready for take off and a return to the skies.
Link Posted: 5/29/2003 1:31:44 AM EDT
[img]http://photos.ar15.com/ImageGallery/IG_LoadImage.asp?iImageUnq=9219[/img]
Link Posted: 5/29/2003 1:46:22 AM EDT
It would have been nice to see a plane like that become more of a staple of the airways. Even w/ some economic slow downs in the US, I could see people paying a little more per flight for the convenience of a flight that would take 1/2 the time. Am I correct in understanding that they were saying the plane was just to costly to maintain?
Link Posted: 5/29/2003 2:08:28 AM EDT
Cost about 3 times more to operate than a wide body and only holds 100 passengers. That's why tickets are about $5,000 each way. Of course you get full first-class service to the max and the ability to arrive in NYC before leaving Paris or London (by local time) really helps for executive travel. A few years ago they were doing New Years eve flights. You'd start in Paris with a party and celebrate the new year at midnight. A trip to the airport and depart. Then you'd get to party again mid-Atlantic at midnight. Then when you get to your hotel in NYC you'd get to celebrate New Years for a THIRD time that night! The airframes have held up remarkably well. Each flight raises the temp to over 100 Celsius (max airframe limit temp is 127 Celsius). By doing that all the moisture gets cooked off. None of the birds had any corrosion problems at all. Just can’t fill the seats anymore.
Link Posted: 5/29/2003 2:53:01 AM EDT
Even when they could fill the seats it operated at a loss.
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