Airbus in Bristol Concorde move rumour denial

Concorde at Filton
Image caption The Filton Concorde was the last of the fleet to fly when the jet was withdrawn from service

Airbus has denied speculation that it is planning to move a Concorde exhibit away from Bristol.

BAE Systems said Filton airport is to close from the end of 2012 following a review of its commercial and economic viability.

The jet has been at Filton since 2003 and was closed to the public in October for maintenance.

Airbus says it is committed to supporting a bid to build a permanent home for it in the Bristol area.

The plane - called Concorde 216 or Alpha Foxtrot - was the last of the fleet to fly when Concorde was withdrawn from service by British Airways in 2003 due to spiralling running costs.

British Airways, which owns the plane, said it has handed over responsibility for the aircraft to Airbus.

A spokesman from the Save Concorde Group said it was concerned about the short-term future of Alpha Foxtrot following the news of the airport's closure.

He also said the group had received unconfirmed reports that the aircraft could be moved to London to be a tourist attraction.

Permanent home

Airbus said it has been carrying out extensive maintenance on Alpha Foxtrot, including weather proofing, skin panel repairs and corrosion removal work.

A spokesman from the company said it has spent more than £1.8m on the aircraft since 2003.

In a statement, he said: "There has been recent speculation that Airbus is currently in the process of trying to move Concorde away from Bristol rather than try to find the aircraft a permanent home in the area. These rumours are not correct.

"Airbus meets with the aircraft's owners, BA, on a regular basis to discuss the aircraft.

"During one of these meetings last summer we discussed various options for moving the aircraft to another location if for any reason plans to establish a permanent home in Bristol faltered.

"This is part of our normal risk mitigation planning.

"These discussions were never advanced beyond an initial stage and we are firmly committed to supporting a permanent home for the aircraft in the Bristol area."

The spokesman added that a response to a lottery bid by the Concorde Trust for funding to build a permanent exhibition for Alpha Foxtrot at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol is expected in May.

Other Concorde exhibits are located at Manchester Airport, Edinburgh, Heathrow Airport, Seattle, New York and Barbados.

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