The Concorde has long been known for its luxury and speed, but as spending on air travel dwindled, airlines have decided to ground the grand madame. You still have time to hop aboard before this piece of aviation history disappears, and there are even some hot deals for flights.
Air France's final Concorde flight is on Saturday, May 31.
In the remake of the classic movie "Sabrina," the Concorde is referenced as the way for the rich to travel to Paris. When people utter the word "Concorde," it is usually with a sigh of longing. It travels at twice the speed of sound and can cross the Atlantic in three hours.
The Concorde has struggled to survive, especially since the 2000 crash in Paris. (See "History Of The Concorde" at the bottom of this article for a timeline.)
Air France states on the subject:
"The poor economic performance of the transatlantic route operated with Concorde over the last few months and especially since the beginning of the year is behind this decision. This drop in demand comes at a time when the Company has to bear maintenance costs which have substantially increased since Concorde returned to service on 7 November 2001."
Air France Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta added the following statement in a recent press release: "Air France deeply regrets having to make the decision to stop its Concorde operations, but it has become a necessity. The worsening economic situation in the last few months has led to a decline in business traffic, which particularly weighs on Concorde's results. Maintenance costs have substantially increased since its return to service. Operating Concorde has become a severely and structurally loss-making operation. In these circumstances, it would be unreasonable to continue operating it any longer."
British Airways will also suspend Concorde flights in October.
In a recent press release, Rod Eddington, British Airways chief executive, said: "Concorde has served us well and we are extremely proud to have flown this marvellous and unique aircraft for the past 27 years. This is the end of a fantastic era in world aviation but bringing forward Concordes retirement is a prudent business decision at a time when we are having to make difficult decisions right across the airline."
The demise of the Concorde will indeed be a sad day in aviation history, even the end of an era. If you have the means and the time, don't miss a last chance to fly aboard its magestic splendor.
History Of The Concorde
|11/29/62||French and British governments sign agreement for the joint design and building of supersonic airliner|
|3/2/69||First flight of prototype in Toulouse|
|1/21/76||Air France & British Airways inaugurate first scheduled Concorde service|
|10/12/92||Concorde beats round-the-world westbound record for civil airliner in 33 hours, 1 minute.|
|8/16/95||Concorde beats round-the-world eastbound record for a civil airliner in 31 hours, 27 minutes.|
|7/25/00||Concorde F-BTSC crash and suspension of Concorde flights.|
|8/16/00||Withdrawal of Concordes airworthiness certificate.|
|9/5/01||Airworthiness certificate reinstated.|
|11/7/01||Concorde returned to service between Paris and New York.|