Crosswind From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 2572 posts, RR: 59 Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1883 times:
British Airways have suspended their Concorde charter programme to extend the lives of the aircraft, so Concorde visits to EMA, and most other airports that once got an occasional charter are out of the question...
Bellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 574 posts, RR: 60 Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1823 times:
BA were already considering cutting back on their charter program, prior to the Paris tragedy, in order to conserve aircraft cycles for their scheduled flights, which at that time were envisaged to be likely to continue until around 2010-2015.
In the aftermath of Paris, BA suspended all Concorde charter flights whilst the engineering modifications in the return-to-service program were being carried out, because as soon as aircraft were modified, they were required for scheduled services. The priority was to get a daily JFK service back, then the BGI service, and then, when sufficient aircraft had been modified, the second daily JFK service. Only once sufficient aircraft had been modified to operate all their scheduled services, would BA even consider running any sort of charter program.
Then came 9/11, another tragedy, which, coupled with the general economic downturn that followed it, and now the possibility of war in Iraq, have all helped to degrade the future prospects for Concorde.
As a consequence, the re-introduction of the second daily JFK service has been delayed, and a much earlier end-of-service date for Concorde than 2010-2015 is now being discussed within BA. The various dates being discussed are so much earlier than anyone had previously envisaged, that, if confirmed, there will no longer be a need to save aircraft cycles, BA will have more than enough available!
Let me stress that nothing has been decided or announced officially, but, if an early end-of-service date is confirmed, then - and this is only my own personal opinion, for whatever that is worth – I would hope to see Concorde back in the charter market for the last couple of years of her life, to generate as much profit as possible out of the spare aircraft cycles, before she finally goes out of service.
Sadly, any future charter flights will probably only operate out of LHR or JFK, due to the engineering cover already in place at those airports.
I would be delighted to be proved wrong, but the days of Concorde charter flights out of airports like EMA, hugely enjoyable though they were, are probably gone.