Branson Response to BA’s Concorde Announcement

31st Oct 2003

British Airways
today announced the locations where it intends to retire its fleet of Concordes after commercial services ended at London Heathrow last Friday afternoon.

Final negotiations are under way to house the seven Concordes in the British Airways’ fleet at the following locations:

á Airbus UK, Filton Bristol

á Manchester Airport

á Museum of Flight, near Edinburgh

á Heathrow Airport

á The Museum of Flight, Seattle, US

á The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York, US

á Grantley Adams Airport, Bridgetown, Barbados
British Airways’ chief executive Rod Eddington
commented: “We have chosen the final homes based a number of criteria: their ability to properly exhibit and preserve the aircraft, their geographical location and accessibility to the public.

“We are working closely with each of the new homes to make sure they show off each Concorde at her best.”

Commenting on the plans British Airways announced today regarding the final fate of its Concorde fleet, Sir Richard Branson


“I still believe that it could and should be possible for Concorde to continue flying on a commercial basis for many years to come but having said that, at the very least, we should all work together to keep Concorde flying on a heritage basis. We have urged for months now that British Airways and Airbus sit down with us, together with experts from BAE, Qinetiq, the CAA and other interested parties, to look at ways for Concorde to continue flying for future generations to enjoy.

“Due to the huge public interest in keeping at least one Concorde flying, we have asked the Government to intervene and force British Airways to hold such a meeting. In the meantime we have asked the Government to put a block on the export of any of BA’s seven Concordes and to look at the possibility of keeping all the Concordes within Great Britain. 

“It appears that BA have been garnering as much publicity as they possibly can for the demise of Concorde and in the process making enormous amounts of money out of it. But rather than making any real concerted effort by putting some of that money back into keeping even one of these beautiful aircraft flying, they have refused to look at any other alternative.

“Even as recently as Friday they said they would look at keeping one aircraft flying for heritage purposes. It appears that this was just a smokescreen on the last day of Concorde’s operations - just as we suspected at the time. Publicity stunt? Today’s announcement proves it was yet another example of BA attempting to pull the wool over the British public’s eyes.

“If this is the end, what a sad ending it is! Virgin Atlantic has offered many times to continue to fly Concorde both to existing destinations such as New York and Barbados and new destinations like Dubai. This commercial proposal was rejected out of hand. We then offered to put up £1m towards a heritage trust and even work with BA on keeping Concorde flying for future generations but BA has refused to even put their hand in their pockets to match this offer. I fear that, unless the Government steps in now, all hope is gone for this icon of British innovation. How sad.”


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