When was the last flight of the Concorde?

ALTHOUGH the Concorde last flew two decades ago, it remains the fastest airliner ever built.

The plane wowed passengers with its incredible speed, crossing the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound in less than three hours.

The Concorde is the fastest airliner ever built

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The Concorde is the fastest airliner ever builtPhoto credit: Getty – Contributor

When was the last flight of the Concorde?

Concorde departed on October 24, 2003 for its last commercial flight.

This ended a chapter in aviation history that had lasted for almost three decades.

The Concorde operated for 27 years after making its first commercial flight on January 21, 1976.

Developed jointly by the British and French governments, it was considered a major achievement in aviation technology.

The plane could reach a top speed more than twice the speed of sound – making it a symbol of speed and luxury.

That equates to about 1,354 miles per hour, meaning the sleek jets could make a journey from New York to London in around three and a half hours.

The fastest journey ever between the two cities occurred on February 7, 1996, when British Airways flew the Concorde from New York JFK to London Heathrow in two hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.

Who flew the last Concorde flight?

On April 10, 2003, Air France and British Airways announced that they were phasing out their Concorde fleet.

Air France made its last flight on June 27, while British Airways withdrew its fleet some four months later on October 24 after a farewell tour.

In a week of farewell flights, Concorde visited Birmingham (October 20), Belfast (October 21), Manchester (October 22), Cardiff (October 23) and Edinburgh (October 24).

The last Concorde flight was operated by British Airways, flying the aircraft from JFK to Heathrow.

Why did they stop flying the Concorde?

Air France and British Airways blamed low passenger numbers and rising maintenance costs.

Passenger numbers fell after an Air France Concorde crashed minutes after takeoff from Paris in July 2000, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground.

The plane ran over a piece of metal on the runway, bursting a tire and igniting the fuel tank as it took off.

The September 11, 2001 attacks also had a serious impact on the number of people who chose to fly.

The operators also blamed rising maintenance costs.

Although advanced when it was first launched, 30 years on the planes was obsolete and expensive to operate.

When Concorde was retired, it was the only aircraft in British Airways’ fleet that required a flight engineer.

In 2003 Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Atlantic was interested in purchasing the fleet.

But it was unsuccessful as Branson later wrote that Virgin Atlantic wanted to operate the fleet for many years but no agreement was reached.

The last Concorde to be built and to fly was on display at the Aerospace Bristol Museum, a £19million center in Filton, in October 2017.

Concorde number 216 was transferred to its new home by engineers from British Airways and Airbus, who towed the iconic aircraft over Filton Airfield and up a ramp into the new purpose-built hangar.

Half of the Concordes were built in Filton, the others were built in Toulouse.

Six other retired BA service aircraft are at Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airport, Barbados Airport, the National Museum of Flight near Edinburgh, the Museum of Flight in Seattle and the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York exhibited.

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Air France also had seven service jets, but one crashed and another was dismantled for spares.

The five still intact are on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport in Washington DC, the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum in Germany, the Airbus factory in Toulouse, the Air and Space Museum in Le Bourget and Charles de Gaulle Airport Near Paris.


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