ZeeZoo
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Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 1:39 am

Also, roughly how long left could the jet have gone on with support? Another 5 years or so?
 
incitatus
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 1:56 am

Concorde had more success in London than in Paris, for evident reasons - not really AF vs. BA.
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SFOA380
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 2:09 am

London has far more high-yielding traffic, BA is a well run airline and AF is well, AF...
 
FlySSC
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 2:17 am

It doesn't really have anything to with BA or AF ... But the volume of passengers on LON-NYC is about 3 time superior to the volume of PAX on PAR-NYC...

I was working on Concorde until July 2000 and at that time, BA & AF had plans to operate Concorde until 2007, not further. That was just before the accident of F-BTSC
 
Viscount724
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 2:23 am

Very simple. LHR-JFK connected the world's two largest financial centers with a huge amount of premium traffic.
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 2:24 am

NYC/USA-LON is a market several times larger than NYC/USA-CDG, so the answer's sorta academic.


Quoting ZeeZoo (Thread starter):
Also, roughly how long left could the jet have gone on with support? Another 5 years or so?

None at all. The OEM withdrew support, as did Exxon for MV2 production licensing.
Without either, Concorde could not continue.

As mentioned above, BA had "Re-lifing II" as a proposal to potentially keeping the aircraft in service until 2007, assuming AF went along. Fuel insanity of the mid-'00s quite possibly would've killed it sooner though.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
cpd
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 2:37 am

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 5):
None at all. The OEM withdrew support, as did Exxon for MV2 production licensing.
Without either, Concorde could not continue.

If I remember correctly, I thought I read in a book that 2015 was supposed to be when it would have been withdrawn had everything gone as per the original plans. But that of course is academic now.

Really, it was a miracle it survived until then. If it weren't for the entente cordiale, it would (or perhaps should) have been killed off before the plane reached production, in much the same way that the TSR2 was also killed off.
 
Max Q
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 3:47 am

All the airframes had a lot of life in them, they didn't accumulate hours at anywhere close to the rate of other long haul aircraft and few cycles as well. Even if they did two crossings a day that's only about seven hours total. And the fleet was hardly stretched with few destinations at the end of service,



More importantly corrosion was minimal compared to subsonic types, the airframe heated up enough to eliminate most moisture on every flight, the only time that started to be an issue was when they were temporarily grounded and sat on the ground for an extended period until the mods were complete and they re-entered service.



Theoretically I think they could have gone on another twenty years beyond their grounding date, great shame.
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LAX772LR
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 3:58 am

Quoting cpd (Reply 6):
If I remember correctly, I thought I read in a book that 2015

I remember GDB (for whom I have the utmost respect) once saying that they could've gone that far, or even further.... but IIRC, they never really expected the French to, so no formal plans.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
AMALH747430
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 4:35 am

The demand just wasn't there for New York-Paris. Nothing matches the executive demand of the New York-London route which is what kept Concorde in the air.

Several factors other than the crash killed Concorde. The main culprit was technology by way of the internet. Again, a large part of Concorde's book of business was made up of executives needed to get documents signed by parties in London and New York on the same day. As electronic transactions became more popular, the need to get between New York and London that quickly in person became less and less important. We all love aviation and love to fly but we forget that as we become more technologically advanced we find that these advancements have replaced the need for a human to go from point a to point b as these new technologies allow us to transfer data, documents, etc . directly without having to transport physical documents or humans to carry them.

I learned a sad fact previously unknown to me when I took a guided tour of Alpha Delta in New York in May of 2014. The guide told us that a number of Concorde's regular client's were in the World Trade Center on 9/11. He said after loosing so many clients, the service never recovered. Very sad on many accounts.
 
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 4:44 am

If I'm also not mistaken, the fleet was used in such a way to extend the life of the plane as Max hinted at. And some mods also were intended to contribute to longevity of the plane.

I do wonder about the proposed flight-deck update, what would it have looked like. Did it ever get to the stage of mockups or early proposal drawings?
 
tonystan
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 4:45 am

We also can't forget that BA had a fantastic charter team marketing joy flights and charters to the Caribbean. There's a very good reason one of the frames is retired in the Barbados sunshine!

These flights help keep the Concorde frames flying and generating much needed revenue in a way that just wouldn't be possible with a subsonic aircraft.
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LAX772LR
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 5:26 am

Quoting AMALH747430 (Reply 9):
The demand just wasn't there for New York-Paris.

Uh-huh, that's why the service lasted nearly 26yrs....



Quoting tonystan (Reply 11):
We also can't forget that BA had a fantastic charter team marketing joy flights and charters to the Caribbean. There's a very good reason one of the frames is retired in the Barbados sunshine!

The LHR-BGI segments were not charters. They were seasonal scheduled service.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
cpd
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 7:23 am

Charters were a big thing that they did well. And Concorde was very interesting in itself, so it added to the mystique of a world tour.

Sierra Delta has the records though.   Sorry to the Brits. 
 
stlgph
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 7:55 am

Quoting tonystan (Reply 11):
There's a very good reason one of the frames is retired in the Barbados sunshine!

although, ironically, it's indoors
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GDB
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 8:17 am

Quoting AMALH747430 (Reply 9):
I learned a sad fact previously unknown to me when I took a guided tour of Alpha Delta in New York in May of 2014. The guide told us that a number of Concorde's regular client's were in the World Trade Center on 9/11. He said after loosing so many clients, the service never recovered. Very sad on many accounts.

That's true, on 11th Sept 2001 99 of us BA Concorde staff boarded, as pax would do, G-BOAF, for a LHR-LHR that would last 3.5 hours, turning back at 30W. Same times, speeds, altitudes as a normal flight.
This was the first of a series of flights to test out new seats, menus, re-train flight and cabin crew, for the return to service.
We even departed from the Concorde room at T4 and left at 10.30, just like a BA001.

You will all know what we saw on the TV when we returned, a later flight was to do a LHR-JFK-LHR in a day, which happened eventually late in October.
But watching the news etc in the days following the attacks, one name stood out, a company called Cantor Fitzgerald was cited as being one of those based on one of the floors of the twin towers so suffered especially high losses.
I had heard that name before, sometimes if an aircraft went tech or occasionally had to return, we would have a quick look at the pax lists to brace for any bad PR - like the time in 1998 when the BA001 had to return and one Rupert Murdoch was on board, (cue 'air terror' headlines in his UK tabloid The Sun next day), I remembered where I had seen the name Cantor Fitzgerald before, as a company they were frequent Concorde users.
As were, ironically given the idea that new technology was eating away at our market, tech business types!

Though FlySSC points out a date that was cited often, officially there was no date set at BA, for one thing, you did not want vendors to assume it if plans were changed.
Though it's true about the airframes, they were not really the main issue in running the fleet up to and past 2010, a host of often systems updates were needed, some to keep 'current' with air navigation/ATC, others to hopefully maintain serviceability.

In the 1990's fitting TCAS took time and money, a new radome had to be developed for the harsher operating environment, in the late 90's replacing the Air Intake Control computers was fraught, basically new 'old' ones had to be brought, there was no spare aircraft to do the months of recertification for a wholly new one, even if it would have been much smaller and more reliable. Not helped by BAe and GEC merging at the time.

A plan to fit all new actuators for the rear nozzles backfired in 2002, when the new ones, literally could not stand the heat, so the old ones, which needed extra maintenance had to go back on.
And there were more items like that coming down the pipe.

But it was really the Sept 11th attacks, more than the crash, which drove the retirement in the end, worsened by a host of extra maintenance under SFAR88 and the fallout from TWA800 too, no matter that Concorde in the latter case had just had it's fuel tanks throughly inspected as part of the tank liner installation, rules were rules.
 
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 10:36 am

It's much, much more than the corporate demand between London and New York.

Concorde was also highly profitable to Barbados. British people were beguiled and bewitched by Concorde in a way in which the French - apart from myself! - just weren't.
 
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 12:11 pm

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 12):
Uh-huh, that's why the service lasted nearly 26yrs....

I meant the level of demand for LHR-JFK vs. CDG-JFK... Sure, demand for a premium product exists for CDG but when it comes to transatlantic markets, nothing compares to NYC-London. That route was and is in a league of its own.
 
cloudboy
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 12:40 pm

That was one of the problems with the Concorde. It was always treated as a high premium aircraft. Like Midwest airlines, if you milk the top end of the market, and suddenly the economy tanks and everyone has to cut back, you are the first to go.

What would be interesting is to see what would have happened if they targeted the business class market. Lower prices, customers exchanging speed for a a flat bed. I think there would have been much more demand in the long run. While Concorde used a lot of fuel, it also flew so much faster that per trip fuel costs were far more comparable. Compared to economy density Concorde didn't fly many seats - compared to business class seating it would have been a lot more respectable.
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 1:02 pm

Quoting ZeeZoo (Thread starter):
Also, roughly how long left could the jet have gone on with support? Another 5 years or so?

BA would have probably pulled the plug in the summer of 2004 at the earliest. Failing this, winter 2004. The issue was parts. In short, BA were beginning to run out of spares (because the aircraft's development and manufacture was frozen in time), hence G-BOAA was canniblised and probably wouldn't have flown again.
 
SKAirbus
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 1:38 pm

More rich tossers willing to shell out in London?  
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canyonblue17
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 5:02 pm

I still have a Concorde onboard package given to me as a present from a family friend that flew on Concorde. It includes a British Airways route map, menu and certificate that states you flew on Concorde. It's one of the jewels of my aviation collection.
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A320FlyGuy
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 5:25 pm

BA realized very early on that most of the passengers travelling on Concorde were business travelers who had their travel booked by travel agents or corporate travel departments. BA issues a survey to passengers asking them what they thought Concorde cost to fly - most passengers thought it cost considerably more than what BA was charging and as a result, BA simply raised the ticket prices to what people thought that they were paying, thus instantly improving the financial picture!

If you go on YouTube and watch "Concorde's Last Flight" it talks a lot about why BA was able to be so successful with Concorde!
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YULWinterSkies
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 5:43 pm

Did BA really had that much more success than AF using the Concorde?

AF had its small niche in CDG-JFK. BA had a larger niche in LHR-JFK, and to BGI, and overall their fleet was not substantially larger (not 2-3 times more, rather a handful more aircraft). Where else did BA fly it?
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 6:58 pm

Quoting YULWinterSkies (Reply 23):
AF had its small niche in CDG-JFK. BA had a larger niche in LHR-JFK, and to BGI, and overall their fleet was not substantially larger (not 2-3 times more, rather a handful more aircraft). Where else did BA fly it?

Aide from weekend (usually a Saturday but sometimes Sunday too) flights to BGI in August (lower business use on the JFK route in August meant no BA003/BA004 at the weekend too), as well as the main seasonal BGI's from November to April, our charter programme was pretty extensive right up to the AF crash.
Not only many LHR-LHR, the one most people associate with charters but also regular ones to Tenerife, Venice, Iceland - I am not going to try and spell the actual location! - even after the thrice weekly LHR-IAD ended in 1994, Concorde was still a fairly regular visitor there too.
BA as well as AF did round the world charters, AF did more of them I think, our last was in 1999 though we did a round Africa one in early 2000.

Prior to that, between 1984 and 1991 the IAD route was extended to MIA, in 1988 we did one to DFW, replicating the joint operation with Braniff in 1979/80.
Which was also the period of the joint one with SIA, G-BOAD had their livery on one side, BA on the other, LHR-BAH-SIN.
 
thegoldenargosy
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 7:17 pm

Here's a video from the late '90s highlighting upgrades BA had planned

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrs4__9-5z4
 
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Revelation
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Tue May 24, 2016 11:39 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 15):
I remembered where I had seen the name Cantor Fitzgerald before, as a company they were frequent Concorde users.
As were, ironically given the idea that new technology was eating away at our market, tech business types!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantor_Fitzgerald says:

Quote:
Cantor Fitzgerald's corporate headquarters and New York City office,[7][8] on the 101st–105th floors of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan (2–6 floors above the impact zone of a hijacked airliner), were destroyed during the September 11, 2001 attacks. At 8:46:46 A.M., six seconds after Cantor's tower was struck by the plane, a Goldman Sachs server issued an alert saying that its trading system had gone offline because it wasn't able to connect with a Cantor server.[9][10][11] Cantor Fitzgerald lost over two-thirds of its workforce, considerably more than any of the other World Trade Center tenants or the New York City Police Department, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, the New York City Fire Department, and the United States Department of Defense.
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LAX772LR
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Wed May 25, 2016 1:14 am

Quoting stlgph (Reply 14):
although, ironically, it's indoors

That's not ironic, that's common sense:
Saltwater mist + aircraft = corrosion city!
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
cpd
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Wed May 25, 2016 2:01 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 15):

Thanks - that's an excellent reply.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Wed May 25, 2016 2:15 am

Quoting YULWinterSkies (Reply 23):
Did BA really had that much more success than AF using the Concorde?

AF had its small niche in CDG-JFK. BA had a larger niche in LHR-JFK,

BA Concorde service was twice-daily LHR-JFK. AF just once daily CDG-JFK. Good indication of the relative premium demand for the two markets..
 
727LOVER
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Wed May 25, 2016 2:23 am

Why did AF mothball a Concorde?

I am assuming for parts to keep the rest of the fleet going.

Also, is I true that AF only had 5 in service at a time> When the 6th came out of D-check, it would sit until another aircraft went in for a D0check....then the cycle would repeat.

[Edited 2016-05-24 19:26:21]
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Max Q
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Wed May 25, 2016 4:08 am

I believe AF had one Concorde involved in a hard landing, not sure but that may have been the mothballed aircraft.
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LAX772LR
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Wed May 25, 2016 7:44 am

F-BVFD is the aircraft that you're thinking of.

It had a landing incident in 1977, but continued to fly.
It then was stored in '82, and and was subsequently used for parts starting in '94.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
RIX
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RE: Concorde: Why Did BA Have More Success Than AF?

Wed May 25, 2016 2:49 pm

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 32):

It then was stored in '82, and and was subsequently used for parts starting in '94.

Of what I remember, it became heavier after repairs, whicn made it No 1 in the list to be stored / used for parts.

As always, great to read posts by GDB, for their very spirit of old days glory, even if they are about something "routine". Same feeling as when you get another precious bit of information about moon landing...

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