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How Long Will The Concorde Stay In The Air?  
User currently offlineLegoLars From Denmark, joined Sep 2001, 89 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4339 times:

on regular traffic..?

has BA got plans, or is it dependent on accidents etc.


19 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4319 times:

In conversation with Mike Bannister, BA's Chief Pilot for Concorde, there's certainly no short-term plan to phase out the service. Load factors on Concorde run very high, and while certainly it's a niche market, it's one that is working for BA, and, one assumes, AF. Certainly the issues following the July 2000 crash would have easily set the stage for retiring Concorde had they been so inclined.

That doesn't make Concorde low-maintenance, of course. I suspect we'll always be seeing various niggling issues for at least 15 years to come!


User currently offlineBA777 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2192 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4298 times:


GDB said yesterday that the Concorde pre-bookings were around 70-100% until Jan or Feb, with like 90% being full-fare  Big thumbs up

So shes def. in demand, and i swear i will get on her one day  Smile


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4240 times:
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I would guess Concorde would still be flying for at least another 10 years (or at least i hope so)

In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineMt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6886 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4230 times:
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I agree .. what % of available capacity does the concorde represent across the atlantic? There will allways be that same (or close) % of people that can afford to take it.. so i think ticket prices may not be an issue but technical might..

Has anyone heard of the American Express Black Card (aka Centurion Card) which will upgrade you to concorde when you buy a firts class ticket to/from London?

Step into my office, baby
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13606 posts, RR: 76
Reply 5, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4194 times:

It almost certainly won't be a single major technical issue that ends Concorde, rather increasingly high maintenance costs which will one day exceed earnings.
When that day arrives will be known well in advance by the airlines, and a phasing-out planned.

Airframe life is determined by what is called a Reference Flight, a flight with 170 Ton or more take off weight is 1 RF, less than 120 ton (like a training or ferry flight) is a 0.5 RF.
With the very good condition of the airframes found at the first series of major checks in the early 1990's, there was an extension from the original very conservative 6700 RF life, to 8500 RF.
BA aircraft have more hours, the oldest flying BA Concorde should reach 8500 RF's in about 2007-8, depending on future flying rates.

However, an extension to 10000 RF is possible, again depending on what (if any) airframe mods are needed.
But the Major checks needed to assess this, (when the A/C reach 24000 hrs), are not certain, if both operators commit to these checks then the costs drop, currently AF have not, (though their fleet is much further off 24000 hrs), BA at present do not have the manpower to do a Major, so a reversal in current policy towards resourcing Concorde at BA will be needed, current problems in this area are more to do with post Sept 11th problems, but BA took a hard-headed business decision last year to still go with the re-launch, after checking running costs with a specialist outside consultants company.

The more Concorde earns, the greater chance of better resourcing in the future, the last few months have seen some very encouraging figures in this area, which also pays off the relaunch costs quicker.

The best guarantee of that is for Concorde's current loads to continue, with more services, adding flights would be offset by bringing the 6th BA A/C G-BOAB, back into operation.
But for this reason, don't ever expect any major charter operation to re-emerge.

One potential problem for BA is that most of the fleet have around the same number of hours, except for OAF and OAG, which have fewer hours, but maintaining just 2 A/C is never going to be a viable operation.

But RFs are not the only issue, maintaining personnel current in Concorde's unique systems is not easy, it's very untypical of modern airliners.
Costs are high when it comes to replacing for example avionic items.
So far, the wiring has stood up very well to the rigors of Concorde's operation, the intake systems were rewired in the early 90's, that's an example of a major maintenance job that could yet occur.
Support from the manufacturers is another issue, it's expensive and often protracted.

If one operator retires Concorde, then support costs for the other would soon become unsustainable, even if some or all of the aircraft/spares were given to the other.

As BA and AF started together, and relaunched together last year, one operator pulling out is not likely.
Co-operation between BA and AF on technical and spares support, while always strong, has increased recently.

Weighing all these up, I would expect Concorde to operate until the 2008-10 area.
If additional services (e.g. BA003/004) with good loads happen, and BA 'man-up' their operation, do the Major checks, find no major issues, the authorities agree an extension to 10,000 RFs, then you could indeed see a BA fleet of 4 or 5 aircraft operate a BA001/BA002 operation up to about 2014-16.
But I would not bet on that, however the aircraft has defied the grim reaper many times already!

User currently offlineStretch 8 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 2568 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4147 times:

A somewhat off topic question about Concorde. Last year at New Year's time, BA offered $2,000 RTs (one way SSC, one way Club). Any intel on this or any other BA Concorde offers in the near future?

Maggs swings, it's a drive deep to left! The Tigers are going to the World Series!!!
User currently offlineDash8tech From Hong Kong, joined Jul 1999, 732 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 4116 times:

I think Concorde will stay in the air for about 5 hours depending on winds and weight load.

Okay, enough of that sarcasm...

I read somewhere that BA want to re-evaluate Concorde in 2009 and go from there. By that time it'll be about 40 years old. Pretty old for an aircraft regardless of the fact that it only makes one cycle a day.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13606 posts, RR: 76
Reply 8, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 4104 times:

I've no particular info on any offers, keep an eye on www.ba.com and www.concordesst.com.

Most of Concorde's major components were built between 1973-77, so they will be around 35 years old when retirement probably occurs.
There is one overriding non-technical factor keeping Concorde flying, that is no replacement being anywhere near.

User currently offlineAmir From Syria, joined Dec 1999, 1254 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4070 times:

i think the Concorde will keep flying until both BA and AF give up this prestigious idea and think more economically than emotionally. We can debate about the Concorde being good or bad, one fact remains at the end of the day: neither BA nor AF are making money with this bird and this is what commercial aviation is about.


User currently offlineBCal DC10 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 724 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4060 times:

Not true at all... from what I heard and knew about Concorde, it was a cash cow for BA... making it a lorra cash. Maybe someone can enlighten us as to whether that is still the case.

And if the loads keep going as they are... didn't the one which lost a bit of rudder last week have like 96 pax on board... it should continue to do so, which is fantastic!

User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 32
Reply 11, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4054 times:

Amir - Concorde is making a bucket load of cash for both AF and BA, especially thanks to their Utilisation of them (Barbados, QE2 charters, NYC etc etc), and not only is the concorde an excellent revenue generator, its also a brilliant flagship and brings alot of business to BA that would otherwise go to other airlines.

Dan  Big grin

User currently offlineMf3864 From United States of America, joined May 2002, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4054 times:

if its a cash cow for both airlines... why isnt anyone designing a replacement for it? the technology isnt there to make Concorde NG (next generation)? or nobody wants to pony up the money?

User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4053 times:

Mf3864: It may be a cash cow for the airlines - now. But it was a financial disaster for the manufacturers. It is such a small niche market, that any manufacturer planning to produce a replacement (in the traditional sense of the term - i.e. a plane with the same role) would have to be seriously insane.

Now, to design a plane with a different role (eg supersonic, ultra-long-haul or supersonic, low-boom) may be feasible in the future. Just don't hold your breath for supersonic mass transport just yet...



User currently offlineAmir From Syria, joined Dec 1999, 1254 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4048 times:


i have not seen a recent feasibility study of the Concorde operation, however i had talks with some guys in the industry and all tell you the same: they doubt that this birds makes money.

Of course an airline like BA and AF will not tell their shareholders that this bird is losing money. The most interesting thing is that most ordinary people can be excited by the story of the Concorde, they might even find it sexy and hardly anyone tackles the issue that the technology used is from the sixties.... These same people will stare at me when i tell them that i like to fly russian airlines.. the first thing they say is: this technology is old and cramp..... whereas many russian airlners in service are 'younger' than the Concorde.... Again, flying an 'mature' plane is not bad if peole wants this but in terms of making money, it's a great challenge.

Apart from this, take alone the fact that such a small fleet needs huge costs to operate and maintain. I think You need a special crew for both cockpit and cabin, special maintenance teams and very expensive spare-parts and moreover increased fees at certain airspaces.

Some referred to the good loads the concodre is uplifting, without knowing these figures, please remember that having full loaded flights doesn't necessarily mean that you are making money. You will be surprised to know that many airlines do fly a lot routes with a so called break-even factor greater than 100% this means that you will never make money even if you have a full house on each flight! Maintaining traffic rights, political issues could be the reason for that.

Once again I'm not against the concorde i would love to fly it (wishful thinking Wink/being sarcastic

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13606 posts, RR: 76
Reply 15, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4035 times:

Amir, it's nice to know that BA only fly Concorde for the hell of it, (despite two very significant opportunities in 2000 and 2001 to retire it).
Perhaps if you and your 'industry insiders' could watch a typical day at my work, you'd soon see that the the idea that we are in some kind of bubble, insulated from the realities of the commercial market today is ludicrous
If only. Life would be a lot easier if that were true.

Throughout the 1990's BA made a straight profit on the Concorde operation of between £16-20 million.
It had not always been that way, so I'll use this explanation of a similar question not long ago;

Mi3864, there is a thread called 'What comes after Concorde' around now which explains your question.

User currently offlineAmir From Syria, joined Dec 1999, 1254 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 4030 times:

Hi There, well now i got what i want  Wink/being sarcastic


GDB: If you like, you can drop me a mail

User currently offlineBmi330 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1455 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 4002 times:

Concord for BA makes money directly and in directly. BA for years made a loss on concord then they started to use it to attract busness pax to travel more etc and loads just got better as well. Ba use concord to sell tickets on there 747,77 and 767 across the atlantic as well striking deals with big busness after x amout on flights on tipical Ba aircraft they would get a free flight/ upgrade on concord.

User currently offlineVc10 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1468 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3966 times:

GDB, Good reply as always on Concorde matters, but for any extension beyond 2007/8, I thought that the the "crown mod" had to be completed, and surely this would push the cost to high. Have you got any information on this.
Regards little vc10

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13606 posts, RR: 76
Reply 19, posted (13 years 5 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3957 times:

A bit up in the air about the crown, current circumstances make it seem unlikely, but studies by the manufacturers are still going on, and they are not doing that for us for free!
That is where the issue of the next Major checks enters the mix, however, the two nearest needing a major, with the crown, are OAA, which is unlikely to fly again with no major charter re-emerging, and OAB, the earliest that could fly now is September/October 2003.
Also of course, the original estimate for a life extension was pre the grounding, and did not take into account the reduced flying rate since relaunch.
Flying rates are unlikely to increase before OAB returns.
AF appear not to want to do a second round of Majors, but for them the decision is quite a bit farther off than for us, what with their lower number of hours.
A yes from them will make the Majors/crown work more likely, without them, unlikely.

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