British Airways today confirmed it will urgently be seeking meetings with Concorde’s manufacturers and the airworthiness authorities to help develop measures to enable the aircraft to resume operations as soon as possible.
Following the Air France tragedy three weeks ago, the airline had already implemented an extensive series of additional procedures and checks on the aircraft’s airframe, engines, tyres and wheels, hydraulics and other systems and operating procedures, above and beyond Concorde’s already demanding schedule of maintenance , inspections and operating parameters.
British Airways took the unprecedented step of suspending its supersonic passenger services yesterday morning as soon as it became aware that the regulatory authorities had new information, detailed this morning.
Mike Street, British Airways’ Director of Customer Services and Operations, said: “We have kept in constant contact with the British and French regulators, the manufacturers and Air France throughout, and this will continue into the future, as we work together to access what measures are needed to enable Concorde to fly again.
“British Airways first concern is always safety. We will only resume Concorde operations when we and the airworthiness authorities are completely satisfied that all necessary safety measures have been taken in the light of all latest information.”
The airline has at this stage cancelled all Concorde services until early September, but will be able to resume operations at 24 hours’ notice should clearance be given ahead of then.
It is contacting all passengers booked on Concorde’s scheduled services until then and offering them travel on the airline’s subsonic flights, and looking to put additional capacity between London and New York.
The airline is also examining the feasibility of bringing forward fitting the planned new Concorde cabin interiors while the aircraft are on the ground. The new seats, bathrooms, interiors, tableware, are part of a £14 million package of improvements to the airline’s supersonic services originally scheduled for installation early next year.