There was a myth, at least I think it was a myth (FlySSC?), that AF
had a Concorde on standby for French Presidential use.
, high profile political charters were planned usually well in advance.
Some limited VIP fits could be fitted, usually replacing a seat row in the fwd cabin with a table.
When the Queen visited the US, mostly the Southern US, via IAD
, in 1991, a more comprehensive VIP fit was installed, as the Queen would use the aircraft for several days for her tour.
The rear cabin had extra stowage installed.
Maggie Thatcher used Concorde just once, to Expo '86 in Vancouver.
John Major once too, visiting Clinton in 1995.
Blair used it to go to a G8
summit in Denver, via JFK
, in June 1997.
Again to visit Clinton in Feb 1998, this had the table mod installed, (along with brackets in the cockpit for the Union Jack and Stars and Stripes, when they were taxing into ADW
This charter caused some friction at work, we chose OAD as the front runner, for solid technical reason, such as it's recent 'form', what scheduled work had been completed recently, so as little as possible was nowhere near due.
Trouble is, in Feb 98, Delta was still in Landor, not the new 'Utopia' livery.
Some higher up did not like that, could we use one in the new colours?
was, this was the back up, OAE I think was in heavy maintenance, I cannot remember what others then were 'Utopia' one more I think, but we had good reason to pick OAD, less risk of a high profile tech delay, however minor.
So the powers that be relented, OAD it was.
Blair used OAF to visit Bush during that frenetic post Sept 11 period, he had to be in the Commons that afternoon, then get to Washington ASAP.
The day he went was the relaunch day for the operation, OAE did the BA001, Fox did the ADW
, what a vote of confidence for the aircraft.
After leaving work, I and others went to the 8th floor of a car-park in the Engineering Base, we saw OAF roar away, reheats lighting up the failing light of dusk.
Job satisfaction and then some.
were struggling to survive then, only getting post Sept 11th insurance help from Government, this charter was discounted by 75% to the PM
's office, from the usual fee.
Still made a profit on the charter though.
The first time the Queen flew Concorde was in 1977, bringing her back from BGI
, first Concorde to BGI
, a few weeks after OAE entered service, fitting that OAE was retired to BGI
26 years later, which I had the bittersweet privilege to be on;
Last Flight Of Concorde G-BOAE, LHR-BGI, Nov.17th (by GDB Nov 18 2003 in Trip Reports)
The Queen's US tour, 1991;
14 May / LHR
17 May / ADW
17 May / MIA
-MCF / BA9003
20 May / MCF-BSM / BA9004
21 May / BSM-EFD
23 May / EFD