RoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 10221 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3884 times:
It would have been a huge success if all of the airlines that had expressed interest in the plane actually went ahead and purchased it. Concorde was a victim partially of the oil crisis and deregulation in the United States. Yields went down, and few could ever hope to earn a profit with it.
As for routes, if the plane had been successful to start with, new varients probably would have been produced that had a more useable range. Concorde would have been great on the Kangaroo route to Australia if it did not require more fuel stops than other planes of the day like the 747-200.
Concorde had limited range. It couldn't fly much farther than the routes it was designed for across the Atlantic. What made this worse was that Concorde was horribly inefficient at subsonic speeds. It had a much higher fuel burn over the same distance, which hurt range. The outcry against the sonic boom hurt the plane as it could only fly supersonic over unpopulated areas which pretty much meant open ocean.
I don't think there was ever a true break even point for Concorde since it was financed by governments.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
BA 5 A's, 5 B's - LHR-JFK X2 Daily/LHR-BGI 1-2 x weekly in winter (but non stop from 1983, rather than 1990)/ LHR-MIA 3 x weekly/ LHR-IAD 3x weekly/LHR-BAH-SIN 3 X weekly (restarted with Concorde B with better operating economics and operational flexibility).
Post 1994, 2 x LHR-Lagos-CPT, replacing the IAD schedule.
AF. 4 A's, 3 B's - Post 1982, CDG-JFK, 1 x daily, more operational flexibility with B's on various charters, some seasonal flights to the French West Indies territories.
LH. 4 B's, FRA-JFK, 1x daily.
SIA, 5 B's, SIN-BAH-LHR 3 x weekly, on alternate days to BA/ 1 X daily to HKG/ 1 x daily to Tokyo.
Not counting the charters with all the above.
Flights to MEL/SYD unlikely due to objections to supercruise over the outback, at least for scheduled services, like the actual overland supercruise in Northern Canada, maybe allowed for occasional charters.
AvObserver From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 2478 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3630 times:
Quoting Lehpron (Reply 2): People have different ideas of success...what is yours?
Surely it was an OPERATIONAL success, if not a commercial one, more than can be said of the Soviet TU-144 and the moribund U.S. SST. I'd read long ago there'd once been over 200 orders, mostly from U.S. airlines but all but the BOAC (now BA) and AF ones were eventually cancelled due to rising fuel costs. It's a shame the reality of SSTs never truly materialized and that we're stuck with relatively plodding .8 to .85 Mach transports but I guess this won't change until airliners are no longer using petroleum based fuel, probably many. many years from now.
B2707SST From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 1375 posts, RR: 59
Reply 7, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3603 times:
Concorde had higher estimated seat-mile costs than contemporary jets like the 707-320B even at pre-1973 oil prices, so a number of things would need to have happened for it to succeed:
- Continuing low oil prices
- Stable or rising costs that can be reduced on a seat-mile basis by faster flights (e.g. crew costs)
- Strong economic growth and especially premium-class demand
- No airline overcapacity (this was a big problem in the early 1970s as the 747 came online)
- An "arms race" between airlines to put SSTs into service
- Cost control on the manufacturers' end
- No schedule slippage
- Rapid, low-cost development of Concorde B
The final factors were absolutely crucial. If Concorde EIS had occurred as planned in 1970, when the environmental/NIMBY movement was building but weaker than it later became, the fight for access to New York might have been avoided and sales certainly would have been a lot stronger. Concorde B would have opened many new transatlantic and (importantly) transpacific routes, few of which could be flown economically by the production "A" models.
Quoting AvObserver (Reply 6): I'd read long ago there'd once been over 200 orders, mostly from U.S. airlines but all but the BOAC (now BA) and AF ones were eventually cancelled due to rising fuel costs
There were actually about 73 options taken (I don't have the list in front of me) by a pretty diversified group of airlines. All but BA and AF had let their options expire by mid-1973 -- before the first oil crisis hit in October of '73 -- although a few, such as Iran Air and FedEx, looked at the aircraft again later on.
IslandHopperCO From Micronesia, joined Dec 2003, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3575 times:
>I don't think there was ever a true break even point for Concorde since it was financed by governments.
Yep, the Concorde, a sweet plane and an incredible feat of science by the way, could only have come to fruition in the socialist governments of the 70s. It cost each citizen of France and England something close to $2000 for the Concorde to be built to shuttle around the rich and famous.
To answer your question, the Concorde was a pipe dream and status symbol that was financially implausable given free market economics. It's a silly result of a silly economic system.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13376 posts, RR: 77
Reply 10, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3431 times:
The UK Government that signed the 1962 agreement with France, was a Conservative one.
Labour ones twice came close to cancelling it, then another Tory government, under one Maggie Thatcher, was quite happy to finish Concorde, but BA accepted their not very serious offer to take over support, in exchange for keeping all profits (previously-the Government took 80% of any profits).
Whilst an EIS on the early 70's was desireable, it was just never going to happen.
Apart from anything else, the Comet 1 experience had led to a very conservative, cautious approach, some older people at the time also cited the R-101 airship experience too.
My senario above was based on Concorde B and nothing else.
Without a '73 oil crisis, it might well have been different, several dozen aircraft maybe.
Also, it's worth remembering why PA cancelled options in early '73, which had a massive effect on the attitudes of other airlines.
Though they had real Concerns that making a PA Concorde profitable would be a given, PA were also in financial trouble anyway, partly through over-ordering 747's (which they'd repeat again a few years later with the 747SP).
Perhaps another factor too.
PA had actually, before BOAC or AF, been the first to take out options in 1963.
Juan Trippe, PA's influencial CEO, had another motive beyond putting PA in the forefront of SSTs.
He wanted a US SST programme.
The options did the trick, soon after JFK announced the effort, Boeing would in 1966 get the contract, a poison chalice given the wildly over ambitious FAA spec, again a result of JFK, who wanted bigger (fair enough) but also faster, big mistake.
You cannot help thinking that something like the 2707 was what PA always had in mind, Concorde would be the entry level SST, a Comet 4 to the DC-8/707 in SST terms.
So when 2707 was axed in 1971, perhaps PA were from then always looking for a way out, 2707 going would also put a question mark over Concorde, would it be allowed to land in the US-Some in the Nixon administration said 'no' at the time.
Frequentflyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 736 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3401 times:
Quoting Superfly (Reply 9): uoting IslandHopperCO (Reply 8):
It cost each citizen of France and England something close to $2000 for the Concorde to be built to shuttle around the rich and famous.
U.S. taxpayers spend much more for wars.
Superfly... please compare apples to apples will you?
We're talking about a subsidized industrial program that yielded less than 100 frames and constant debate about its legitimacy because it was nearly impossible to break even. $2000 per head is an awfully high price paid by taxpayers.
That's why that program is still controversial to this day.