Eddington said in April 2003, that the retirement was being brought forward 18 months to 2 years early, that's in the post Sept 11th environment, which matched our own expectations.
However, with AF
stopping in mid 2003, there was really no way we could go on for much longer, as BA
would get hit for the full cost of supporting this tiny fleet of unique aircraft, hence this advance in the retirement date.
In the context of the pre Sept 11th environment, then the retirement in October 2003 was brought forward 3-4 years early, it is worth remembering that with the success of the 2000/2001 return to flight programme, culminating in the return of the C of A on 5th Sept 2001, we did expect to fly until 2006/7, however, you all know what happened six days after that.
I miss it terribly, life is less interesting, many of the long term Concorde veterans I worked with from April 1997 to November 2003, were rightly proud that BA
had successfully operated this machine for so long, considering Concorde originally was expected to operate for 15-18 years, but after the D checks from 1988-95, it was found that without significant modification they could run until the early years of the 21st Century, depending on utilization.
It was a challenge, it was a thrill, best of all was experiencing this amazing aircraft in flight, I count myself lucky in this respect, let these TR
's be my tribute;
First one, before I joined Concorde Engineering, IAD
Pre return to service flight, a moment of our triumph on a day of world tragedy, 11th September 2001, LHR
The best way to get to NY, with the best way to return, September 2002;
NY again, BA001 outbound, able to take some non BA
friends due to a hotline offer, November 2002;
The last ever BA
Concorde Engineering Test Flight, August 2003, LHR
The last ever flight of G-BOAE, A/C 212, LHR
, November 2003;