Shamrock_747
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Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 5:31 pm

According to Sky News, Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt has said she will be 'very interested' to look at any Concorde proposal Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has. Branson and his team are expected to meet with her to discuss the options today or tomorrow.

There is an article about his proposals here: http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/story.jsp?story=403205

Shamrock_747
 
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 8:04 pm

Will he also pay the amount of millions that BA paid for their first batch of Concordes? As I recall, it was only 3 Concordes that were sold for 1£ each.

I'm impressed that the Secretary has fallen for the load of rubbish mr. Branson & his PR team has fired off lately.
 
vc10
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 8:18 pm

Even if he could convince the government that as the aircraft were bought before BA was privatised they didn't belong to BA, the Concorde simulator was bought post privatisation so it does belong to BA. It would be interesting to see how you could operate a Concorde without it's simulator, unless BA sold it to him. Now how many hundreds of millions of pounds were you offering for the simulator???

Regards little vc10 } Smile
 
donder10
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 8:32 pm

Wel if turns out that Concorde some how DOESN'T belong to BA,their shareholders will be getting a nice summer dividend Smile
 
carduelis
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 9:48 pm

Dividend on your BA shares - you'll be lucky!

Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
 
777236ER
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 10:11 pm

Hey, if it turns out that BA DOESN'T own the Concordes, the government will owe BA in the order of billions of pounds.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
backfire
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 10:31 pm

As I recall, it was only 3 Concordes that were sold for £1 each.

And how many does Branson want? If he only wants three, then I make that...um...hold on...ah, yes...three quid!!
 
777236ER
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 10:36 pm

Backfire, they belong to BA. They can sell them for however much they want.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
donder10
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 10:49 pm

If Branson thinks he could create a Concorde operation with 3 planes then I suggest BA sell them to him Smile


Dividend on your BA shares - you'll be lucky
Indeed in normal circumstances but read 777236ER's post Smile I don't actually own any BA shares however.For Shame!

 
Shamrock_747
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 11:03 pm

Branson's proposal is to take over all BA and AF Concordes and fly three of them, using the rest as a source of spares for the next 20 years.

I don't see why three aircraft wouldn't be adaquate - it's enough for one to be flying a daily flight, one to be the standby aircraft and one to be in maintainance.

Shamrock_747
 
GDB
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 11:50 pm

Not only the simulator and spares, but he'll need a lot more than some retired staff, meaning BA would have to transfer most of their Concorde staff to VS.
A reduced flying programme? Well the current single daily service has been one of BA's problems, too little revenue even if the loads are good.
Let's be clear, there is much to criticize in BA's marketing of the aircraft since 2001, and the general way the operation has been run, so a morning or evening flight? Customers seem to want both. But BA's engineering operation was so run down personnel wise, no way could we support a double daily.
So 3 aircraft are not enough, and what about the docking and other facilities for maintenance owned by BA?
He'd need 4-6 aircraft, presumably BA's lower hrs aircraft, OAF and OAG, (which were the 'extra' aircraft BA got in 1979-80) and some AF ones, all of which have lower hours than BA's.
AF won't co-operate, neither will BA and Airbus, BA's Rod Eddington pleaded with Airbus in March to support the BA operation until April 2004, as tickets had already been sold on the BGI winter season for 2003/2004, they said no, AF are stopping, so BA have to.
The extra costs imposed by Airbus won't go away for Branson, even if Airbus were agreeable, it would have to be a joint BA/VS operation anyway, would that count as two operators, as Airbus stipulate?
 
gigneil
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 11:57 pm

Whatever Sir Richard has in mind... I'm all for it. If he really wants badly enough for the operation to succeed, then I have no doubt it will.

Someone needs to do something to keep this majestic bird in flight.

N
 
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STT757
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Mon May 05, 2003 11:57 pm

What are BA's Concorde pilots going to do, transfer to 777 or 747 flights. Or go work for Virgin?
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
GDB
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 12:01 am

Those who are near retirement will go early, the rest on to 747/777 probably.
Block retirements on the engineering side over the next few years too.
 
sllevin
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 1:09 am

I think Branson's 'starting' point is 1 pound. There's no doubt that he'd need all the spares, personnel, etc., which BA would be entitled to charge some money for.

That said, we *are* talking about an old, used plane which requires a lot of MX. How valuable can the airframes be?

It would be wonderful to see Branson's request evolve into something worthwhile. Perhaps he could acquire both BA and AF's fleets and operate some other services. Maybe SFO-HNL-NRT?  Smile  Smile  Smile (hey, we can hope)

Steve
 
Leezyjet
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 1:17 am

I'm sure SRB knows something we all don't otherwise he wouldn't keep on about it. He's not a stupid man otherwise he wouldn't have got where he is today. At first it seemed like he was only after some cheap publicity, but if thats all he was after then I'm sure he would have gone away and forgotten about it by now.

At least asking the government for help now shows he means business and is not just after the free publicity. He has even suggested that BA and VS operate joint services and share the costs. If he believes in this project so much to do this, maybe people should stop critisizing, wake up and start helping to keep this glorious triumph of Anglo/French engineering in the skies. Some things are just more important than money.

He is a master of marketing, look how VS punch way above their weight- heck we even made a profit in the last 12 months, so don't doubt what he could do given half a chance.

Come on BA give us a chance, thats the least you could do !!.

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
GDB
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 1:30 am

If SRB recognizes that it is AF and Airbus that has brought this about, we might take him more seriously, to be honest though, recent events have probably only brought BA retirement forward by a year or so.
He won't want airframes near the 24000hrs limit for a major check, which means OAF and OAG and some AF ones.
Routes? A double daily JFK, (if he will put his money where his mouth is he'll give up a VS morning slot for Concorde?)
The BGI routes, decent charters like a LHR-LHR, but the full 3.5 hours like the Assessment flights we did in 2001, charge about £1500 per seat.

But still, none of us are counting on this, we expect the aircraft to be retired, he may be getting a lot of hopes up, but not us at BA, if it did happen and looked OK, a joint operation, we'd be up for it most of us.
I will believe it when it happens, I think Airbus want the staff supporting Concorde elsewhere, I also doubt AF will want a UK operation to carry on after them.
 
Arsenal@LHR
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 1:54 am

I won't rule anything out, whatever Branson does, i certainly hope he succeeds for the sake of SST, we are not talking about an ordinary aircraft. But the crucial element of all this is the fact that he has managed to bring the government into it.
In Arsene we trust!!
 
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PW100
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 4:04 am

@GDB
Just a hypothetical question:

You are and have been stating for quite some time now how low morale has been within the engineering department [amongst others] within BA. I just wondered how close you guys are within the department. I mean if this thing was valid and seriously considered, would you sonic-guys leave BA en-group and join VS to set up a Concorde operation? Now that would be something, a real morale booster, instead of just eating your heart out and waiting for the inevitable. What would the majority do? Will there still be room for you within BA after Concorde, are you guys even willing to stay at BA?

Anyway, wish you guys all the best. You made supersonic transport a reality for over two decades! Although I never had the privilege to experience that, thanks for all your work which made these beautiful photos possible!


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PW100
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aussiestu
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 5:15 am

Now just imagine a joint operation between BA and VS. Would Richard be allowed to then scream about BA abuses and being that independant airline any more.

Leezyjet: 'come on BA give us a chance...thats the least you can do?' Please explain as i would love to know. VS has had all the chances that others have and made the best of it, BA owes VS nothing!

BA will not give these planes to richard for nothing, he will have to pay like anybody else will and of course he wants them all for cannibalisation, do you honestly think that AF will hand them over, they owe VS nothing, neither does BA but hey he can wish.

A joint operation with BA/VS operating the flights together would be fantastic for crew morale and for the UK. To operate these aircraft solely as a British thing would be a feather in the UKs hat. Does VS wear hats........well somewhere to start!!!!
 
gigneil
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 5:24 am

I don't think SRB wants something for nothing.

I think the 1 pound thing was a starter.

N
 
GDB
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 6:11 am

PW100. it would have to be a pretty solid looking operation for us to go to VS, but I really cannot see them being able to do it without BA, so in that case, a joint operating company made up and BA and VS, presumably we'd still be under our BA terms of employment.
As for us, well BA have said no sackings, but on the other hand it is hard to see where many of us will go, plenty of surplus staff already.
Yes we hate the management in Engineering, my shift was the first to be told of the news, the same time as it went public, the manager telling us could hardly conceal his glee.
But I have to say that in all this there is a belief that all Branson would do is paint the aircraft he got off us in VS colours, declare he cannot operate them, blaming BA of course, then they end up in museums in VS colours, an airline unlike BA, which has nothing to do with Concorde, much less being the lead operator who actually made serious money out of it over the years.
That is why apart from the practical considerations, it would have to be a joint effort, we trust Branson even less than we trust BA.
In all this speculation, as sad as BA Concorde staff are, they generally regard Branson's comments with contempt, we know what is involved in running Concorde, his public pronouncements so far shows Branson has not got a clue.
He should go talk to Airbus, then we'll see.
 
aussiestu
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 6:26 am


Thankfully for people like GBD we can see the REAL picture. SRB is not too sure what this will all take and is just heading for publicity and trying for something that will not happen unless it is a joint BA/VS venture. Can it happen?
 
David L
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 6:59 am

GDB: Thanks for your comments. It's been evident for some time that things were not going well but I think I knew you'd tell us what you could, when you could, so resisted pressing you.

That's a good point about having the museum Concordes in VS colours. It would be a travesty. Much as I'd like to see them flying for another 10 years, I'd prefer them to go with dignity.

If the government reckons it has a say because they sold a couple on the cheap to BA as a nationalised company then that means they could have stepped in at any time after privatisation and told BA to sell any pre-privatisation aircraft to any airline at any price. As far as I'm aware, when they privatised the company, all the assets went with it - the Concordes belong to BA and they can decide who to sell them to and for how much.

Still... the post 2001 management thing is disappointing, even for someone whose job isn't on the line.
 
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STT757
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 7:05 am

I was listening to a interview with Branson today on the radio, he indicated that he (if he aquired the Concorde) would set it up in a two class configuration.

First and Business?. How does he plan on doing that and making money on such a small aircraft.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
AvObserver
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 8:18 am

Sir Richard, whose Virgin Atlantic is a launch customer for the Airbus A380 super jumbo and the stretched Airbus A430-600 long-range jet, said: "I believe I will be able to cajole Airbus into providing continued support."

I believe Sir Richard seriously overestimates his clout! I don't know why we're still even entertaining this fantasy. Believe GDB, an insider, when he says: "IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN"! Concorde's next stop is a museum, PERIOD! (Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to be proven wrong!) But, PEOPLE, NOW is the time to ante up for Concorde tickets, if you want to fly her! And yes, I'm thinking about parting with $3999. myself (for the 1-way Concorde, other way slow-bird special).
 
gordonroxburgh
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 8:55 am

OK, lets assume the manufactures and be cajoled into continuted support.

If Branson thinks he can contribute to Concorde half the £40M that is being talked about over the next 3-4 years and save BA a similar amont, then they really have to give it a go. A saving of £20M for BA in the current climate is a lot.

Ignoring this £40M of Captital investment required, Concorde operationally does makes a tidy little profit for BA with their current loads. Today it is not spectacular like it was in the early 90s but a tidy sum never the less.

With Joint marketing vision along with what teh publi will se as a 2nd re-birth of Concorde, these investments could easily be paid off over the timespans being talked about. If marketed properly we could easily see double daily flights to JFK on certain days. Over the past 18 months there have indeed been a few days when they would have been pretty full. On other days RBS will know where he can put "bumbs on seats".

SRB although does need to stop letting his dreams get ahead of him and understand what the situation is: Concorde can't operate wth 3 aircraft in the fleet, 4 or 5 is the minimum to allow for scheduled engineerisng and the aircraft going tech. From saying Concorde had 15 years of life left to saving ti now had 25 is a little bit of a joke....get real! The best Concorde could get to with lots of £££ being spent, if the revenue was there, would be 2015 MAX. 2009/10 is far more realistic.

Given the correct conditions a joint venture company between BA and Branson to operate Concorde COULD be made to work, if worked out correctly, it is probably just an extention of the way the BA Concorde division was run in the 80's, except with joint payasters.

Branson has the right people apparently on board his team, the very same people who rescued Concorde from certain death in 1983. British Airways and their shareholders owe these guys the chance to give it a go. If they are willing to take the risk, BA should also.
 
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STT757
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 9:05 am

"If marketed properly we could easily see double daily flights to JFK on certain days".

How about one daily to JFK and one to EWR, most major European airlines offer service to both EWR and JFK.

And EWR was Virgin's first route, I was there to see my aunt off at EWR on one of VS's first flights (way back).
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
Businessflyer
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 10:58 am

According to the Financial Times, Airbus has already told Branson that it was "absolutely unrealistic" to keep Concorde flying.

From the FT "... Noël Forgeard, Airbus chief executive, said in an interview with the Financial Times, that "the costs of operating Concorde and, in particular, of maintenance and support have become such that operations are unrealistic for any operator". ..."

"... Mr Forgeard said last week: "We will absolutely not, as Airbus, support any initiative to put Concorde back into operation by any other operator. I don't want any ambiguity around that." ..."

Given Airbus' comment, this appears to be just one huge Branson marketing idea and to be honest, GDB's suggestion that Branson just wants the Concordes to go to the museums in Virgin colours sounds suspiciously credible!



[Edited 2003-05-06 03:59:35]
 
Sinlock
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 12:40 pm

Can someone tell me, What hold does Airbus have over the Concorde program?
 
cloudy
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 2:58 pm

I suspect the talk over the Concord is just a stunt to deflect attention from the REAL issue - what becomes of the very valuable gates and slots that the Concorde is now using?

What Branson wants to do is get these gates and slots for the lowest price possible and use them for conventional operations, and prevent BA from doing the same.

I suspect what will happen is that these gates and slots will be allocated 50-50 to Virgin and BA. The Concord will either just die or go to a third party. That third party will use them for NetJets style bizzjet work, charter runs, or package freight(a longshot, but FedEx did express an interest once).

But the Concord is not what is in dispute. The bird is a mere expensive novelty. The gates and the slots are the real issue. If BA, Virgin and the British government are talking behind the scenes, they are talking gate and slots, not the Concord.
 
Arsenal@LHR
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 7:22 pm

Err...........no Cloudy...Concorde is what they're talking about, slot's and gates play a part. Perserving the plane itself is what all this merry-go-round is all about. And Concorde is spelt with an "e" at the end.  Big grin
In Arsene we trust!!
 
carduelis
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 7:26 pm

On the same vein - no apostrophe in slots!

Cheers!
Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
 
donder10
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 7:44 pm

They are BA's slots aren't they not?
 
gordonroxburgh
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 7:52 pm

Concorde has 4 regular slots (EG BA1,2,3,4) at LHR + others for specials/engineering flight that can be used.

These 4 will be BA slots and I guess the others, not being for scheduled flight, are negotiated on a case by case basis, EG a round the bay charters will not take off or land a peak times.

IF BA/VS do come to an arrnagements VS will simply pay BA alf the LHR cost for the slots, they will not be allowed to change ownership. No Concorde joint venture would mean they would be back to being 100% BA slots.
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 10:20 pm

"How about one daily to JFK and one to EWR, most major European airlines offer service to both EWR and JFK. "

Concorde had to face enough noise/pollution lawsuits and anti-legislation just to get into JFK... I doubt they want to go through all that again for the sake of EWR
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
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STT757
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Tue May 06, 2003 10:58 pm

They fly into EWR several times a year on weather diversions, EWR's not exactly in a residential area.

It's about 2 minutes further from JFK, across NY Harbor and Newark Bay.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
BA777
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 1:39 am

GDB,

So what will happen to Mike Bannister - will he retire?

Henry
 
vc10
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 1:51 am

Mike Bannister is the manager for BA short haul fleet,not just Concorde so I suppose he will convert on to one of the other aircraft
 
G-CIVP
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 3:13 am

"British Airways and their shareholders owe these guys the chance to give it a go. If they are willing to take the risk, BA should also."

Not going to happen. The big institutional shareholders in BA would say,"nope" as they want a sufficient return on their capital. Needless to say, they're going to be highly browned off taking the £84mil hit to the P&L as an exceptional item in write-off costs.

Just for 'Cloudy', I believe that in the US, the airlines actually own the gates at the major hubs, whereas in the UK, the BAA does and charges accordingly.
 
David_itl
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 4:13 am


The UK Government has ruled out Branson's "rescue" operation. Patricia Hewitt is quoted as saying in a letter, ""It is not for the government to make a decision on either the cessation of Concorde services or the disposal of the aircraft concerned."

Full details are on the BBC website

David
 
Shamrock_747
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 5:10 am

It will be intersting to see which approach Branson uses to try and get his hands on Concorde now that the government have said they won't help.

As people have said, as nice as it would be to have Concorde flying for the next 20 years, the chances of Virgin operating the aircraft are just about zero. However, I don't think Branson will give up on this quite yet!

Shamrock_747
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 6:26 am

If Branson can figure out a way to midair refuel Concorde, you have a whole different ball game. Then we are talking about Los Angeles-Sydney, Los Angeles-Tokyo, Seattle-Bangkok, London-Rio.
 
donder10
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 6:33 am

Difference:LHR-New York has about 20 dailies a day ,the others don't Big grin
 
Leezyjet
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 6:43 am

"If Branson can figure out a way to midair refuel Concorde, you have a whole different ball game. Then we are talking about Los Angeles-Sydney, Los Angeles-Tokyo, Seattle-Bangkok, London-Rio."

Not a chance. Mid air refueling of a passenger airliner would never get approval from the authorities. There is less chance of that than there is of him getting his hands on Concorde !!!.

Aussiestu,

"VS has had all the chances that others have and made the best of it, BA owes VS nothing"

I never said BA owed VS anything, but BA could at least let him have a look at the figures, for him to see if his proposition could work or at least to shut him up.
This is the first serious chance that VS has had of operating Concorde, so don't know what your on about saying that VS have had ALL the chances that others had. VS were not around when the Concorde was lauched so were not able to purchase them from new so missed out on the chance OTHERS had.

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
VC-10
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 7:25 am

"VS has had all the chances that others have and made the best of it, BA owes VS nothing"

BA had all its route start-up costs & its international infrastructure paid for by the British public, via the Goverment, when it was running as the nationalised BOAC & BEA. Come privatisation BA had all its debts written off to make it marketable.

Yes, BCAL & Virgin had the same chance.
 
GDB
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 9:20 am

Maybe now Branson will stop raising the public's hopes, if his ego and addiction to PR allow him to.
Next? "Big bad BA stopped me from operating Concorde"
I'm surprised he's not blamed BA for Sept 11th and SARS yet!
If he got some BA Concorde's, it would be "I cannot operate them as BA have left them in a bad state." When the real reason would be lack of Airbus support and/or him losing a pile on money on it, even allowing for his marketing skills.
 
Businessflyer
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RE: Branson's Concorde Proposals

Wed May 07, 2003 10:23 am

This whole Branson proposal appears stranger and stranger.

According to the BBC, Branson based his claim on access to the Concordes on the argument that an agreement signed when BA was privatised which included a clause saying that if BA no longer wanted Concorde, then it should be offered to another British airline. From a Virgin press release "... When the Conservative government gave British Airways Concorde for £1 they said that if another British company ever wanted to operate it they could ..."

However, the govt is supposed to have found no reference to this clause in any agreement. Honest mistake on the part of Branson or of the govt...?

In addition, Branson apparently proposed an alliance with BA and / or Air France in order to keep Concorde flying (I wonder what SQ would have made of that) and also believed that Airbus was obliged to keep supporting the fleet - something that Airbus clearly does not believe!

Can't help but think that this whole thing was a cheap and rather nasty marketing plan with a poorly thought out business plan...

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