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Goodbye, Sweet Concorde

From BBC News comes word that the Concorde is to be permanently grounded:

Concorde flights are to end after more than three decades of luxury travel.

British Airways and Air France made simultaneous announcements that they would be permanently grounding the famous supersonic airliners this year.

Passenger numbers have never recovered since the crash near Paris in 2000 and the aircraft no longer makes a profit.

In a statement, BA said Concorde would cease flying in the autumn because of "commercial reasons, with passenger revenue falling steadily against a backdrop of rising maintenance costs for the aircraft".

Flying on the Concorde has long been on my wish list, but it appears I won't have the chance. I suppose this means I'll have to start rooting for its successor to be built, though given that the airlines couldn't bring themselves to purchase the Sonic Cruiser, it's hard to see that happening anytime soon.

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Comments

I never flew on Concorde but I did get to go aboard one once.

It's *CRAMPED* - really ! The interior cabin is 2 x 2 seating and it feels really tight across the shoulders. The legroom was OK (and at $9000 per roundtrip or so it had better be).

BA at least had to 'introduce' a special 'Concorde Class' with a lot of extra airport/lounge perks to continue to try and sell the seats.

I used to know someone who had traveled on the Concorde frequently. His comments mirrored yours -- that it's not exactly a comfortable aircraft. But you don't fly Concorde for the comfort -- and let's be honest, there aren't that many people whose time is so valuable that they fly it for the speed. You fly Concorde for the exclusivity. Not for much longer, unfortunately, especially for people like me who have yet to reach the point where they can drop the cash on a Concorde ticket.

Frank, have you seen articles like this one suggesting that Virgin Atlantic is considering taking over the Concorde? I have doubts that they could make it profitable, but I wouldn't put it past Branson to do it just to spite BA.

Michael, no, I hadn't seen that article -- thanks for the link.

So Branson wants to buy the Concordes for one pound sterling each (what BA paid for them in the first place) and keep them in service, but BA -- of course -- wants to donate them to museums. Hmmm. Could be a case for the UK government to step in and say, "We gave these planes to you, and now if you don't want to keep flying them, you need to give them to someone who does."

The dictionary entry for the word cheeky should just have a picture of Branson and be done with it...

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