Last Concorde seats sold out

Rohit Khare rohit at ics.uci.edu
Mon Sep 22 10:20:49 PDT 2003


Gee, and I thought the tourist crush was bad enough in July! :-)

RK


Last Concorde tickets selling fast

There are only 450 tickets left for the historic flights

Passengers have rushed to snap up tickets for the final flights on 
Concorde before it is retired from service.

A third of the 450 tickets available were snapped up within 90 minutes 
of going on sale at 0900 BST.

Flights between London and New York are sold out for 22 and 23 October 
despite a price tag of £4,350 one-way and up to £8,292 for a return 
trip.

Only a few tickets are left unsold for four other dates.

The supersonic jet will bid farewell in October with a round-Britain 
tour and final flights to New York.


The iconic plane will cross the Atlantic 20 times during its last week 
before the final commercial flight, BA001 to New York's JFK airport, 
takes off from Heathrow on 23 October.

The last Air France Concorde flight took place on 31 May.

The airlines decided to ground the luxury service after 27 years 
because of falling tickets sales coupled with increasing maintenance 
costs.

A few high profile technical problems, including the crash near Paris 
of Air France Concorde in 2000 in which 113 people died, have added to 
passengers' reluctance to use it.

BA plans to carry up to 2,000 travellers between 18 and 24 October.

A BA spokeswoman said: "There has been huge demand and the few seats 
available are mainly for flights originating in New York".

Martin George, BA's director of marketing, said more than 1,000 
competition winners and special guests would also be enjoying the 
farewell tour of the UK.

Supersonic finale

Ahead of the tickets going on sale, he said: "People have been calling 
us all summer about buying a seat for the final week and we are 
delighted that we can now begin offering them to those people on our 
waiting lists and several hundred other customers.


The UK tour will see Concorde visit Birmingham, Belfast, Manchester, 
Cardiff and Edinburgh before culminating in a series of three 
supersonic flights from New York, Edinburgh and round the Bay of Biscay 
on her final day.

Air France Concordes have been distributed to museums.

An auction of French Concorde memorabilia, including engines and a 
nose-cone, will be held in Paris next month.



========================
March 2 1969:

1969: Concorde flies for the first time
The supersonic airliner, Concorde, has made a "faultless" maiden flight.

The Anglo-French plane took off from Toulouse and was in the air for 
just 27 minutes before the pilot made the decision to land.

The first pilot, Andre Turcat, said on his return to the airport: 
"Finally the big bird flies, and I can say now that it flies pretty 
well."

The test flight reached 10,000ft (3,000m), but Concorde's speed never 
rose above 300mph (480kph). The plane will eventually fly at a speed of 
1,300mph (2,080kph).

Mr Turcat, his co-pilot and two engineers taxied to the end of the 
runway at about 1530GMT. Strong winds meant the test flight was in 
doubt for much of the day.

Spontaneous applause

Two previous test flights had to be abandoned because of poor weather 
conditions.

Concorde sped down the runway and there was a spontaneous burst of 
applause from watching reporters and cameramen as the wheels lifted off 
the ground.

The noise from the four Olympus 593 engines, built jointly by the 
Bristol division of Rolls Royce and the French Snecma organisation, 
drowned out any noise from the crowd.

Less than half-an-hour later, the aircraft was brought back down to 
earth using a braking parachute and reverse thrust.

The crew emerged at the top of the steps, led by Mr Turcat, who gave 
the thumbs up signal with each hand.

The first British test pilot, Brian Trubshaw, who watched today's 
flight from the news stand, said, "I was terribly impressed by the way 
the whole flight was conducted. It was most professional and I would 
like to congratulate Andre on the way he handled this performance."

The British government has so far invested £155m in the project. It is 
hoped Concorde will begin flying commercially in 1973, when it will cut 
the flying time between London and New York from seven hours 40 minutes 
to three hours 25 minutes.


***In Context

The maiden flight lasted just 27 minutes
Test pilot Brian Trubshaw (watching the flight): "I was terribly 
pleased"

On 9 April 1969, Brian Trubshaw made his first flight in the 
British-built prototype. The 22 minute flight left from a test runway 
at Filton near Bristol and landed at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Concorde completed its first supersonic flight on 1 October 1969.

There were serious doubts at government level about the commercial 
viability of the Concorde project. Cabinet papers released under the 30 
year rule warned the project would be a disaster, costing the UK £900m.

The first commercial flights took place on 21 January 1976 when British 
Airways flew from London Heathrow to Bahrain and Air France from Paris 
to Rio.

Concorde was launched at the height of the fuel crisis and a 
combination of its heavy fuel consumption and small tanks, which meant 
it could not enter the lucrative trans-Pacific market, made it 
uneconomic.

Concorde's image was further dented with the crash near Paris on 25 
July 2000 in which 113 people died.

£17m was spent on safety improvements and the aircraft went back into 
commercial service in November 2001.

In April 2003 British Airways and Air France announced the plane would 
be retired due to falling passenger revenue and rising maintenance 
costs.

Concorde's final commercial flight will be from Heathrow on 23 October 
2003.


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