UK

Concorde fans hope to get jet airborne by 2019

BA British Airways Concorde in 2000 Image copyright BA

Enough funds have been raised to buy a Concorde with the aim of getting it flying again by 2019, a group of British enthusiasts says.

Club Concorde, made up of former captains, charterers and aviation fans, says it has £120m in reserve for the "return to flight" plan.

The group also plans to put another of the supersonic aircraft on permanent display in central London.

Concorde, which can travel at twice the speed of sound, last flew in 2003.

Negotiations are now under way to try to purchase or lease the two aircraft. Club Concorde president Paul James said they were hoping to source both the display and flight jets from France but no agreements had yet been made.

'Global icon'

"We have been overwhelmed by the amount of enthusiasm and people wanting to invest," Mr James said.

"The support shows how much people still admire Concorde and want to see it flying again.

"The plane we would like to get in the air is at Le Bourget in Paris. We had wanted to lease and restore a British Airways Concorde for display in London - next to the London Eye - but this has not been possible, so again we are looking to France and a Concorde near Orly airport."

After restoration the plane would be used at airshows, for special events and private charter, Mr James said.

Image copyright Club Concorde
Image caption A Concorde aircraft could be put on display on the River Thames

Mr James said he was confident a plane would be secured and hoped flights would start by 2019 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Concorde's first flight.

Club Concorde's plan started after the group raised £40m to try to display a jet on London's South Bank close to the London Eye.

"It is a global icon," Mr James said. "All the authorities have been very keen on our idea to bring Concorde to the river as a tourist attraction and London Eye have agreed we could share their landing stage."

The group still also needs to secure planning permission but Mr James said they were aiming to have the attraction up and running by 2017 before looking to open a similar display in Paris.

A spokeswoman for BA said the company had "no plans to return Concorde to the sky".

She added: "While we would be willing to speak to Club Concorde about their plans, the fact remains that our fleet of Concordes are currently displayed at sites around the globe and we have no plans to change these contracts at this time."


History of Concorde

  • Concorde was born out of separate French and British projects which joined forces in 1962 and the partnership built 20 jets
  • Its first flight took place on 2 March 1969 from Toulouse
  • Cruising at around 1,350 mph, a crossing from Europe to New York took less than three and a half hours - the record crossing stands at 2hrs 52mins 59secs
  • Travelling westwards the five-hour time difference meant Concorde landed before arrival time caught up with the local departure time
  • In 2000 an Air France jet bound for New York crashed shortly after taking off from Paris, killing 113 people
  • After a series of problems following the crash, Concorde was taken out of service in 2003

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