Air France will be bidding an emotional farewell to Concorde, today, Saturday 31 May, as the last commercial flight touch down at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. Concorde F- BTSD operating the last New York-Paris service has just landed carrying 68 passengers and 11 crew members.
This outstanding aircraft today enters its well-earned retirement after more than 27 years` service. It was on 21 January 1976 that an Air France Concorde flew its first commercial service between Paris, Dakar and Rio de Janeiro, while British Airways opened up the London-Bahrain route. Since then, Air France`s Concorde`s have carried over 1.3 million passengers, including 40,000 between Paris and New York since flights resumed on 7November 2001.
This marks the end of an era for Air France and for the aviation world as a whole. Yet for all that, ÇConcorde will never really stop flying, because it will always have a place in people`s imaginationsÈ, said Air France Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta.
To keep the dream alive and to ensure that as many people as possible can approach an aircraft that has left its mark not only on Air France but on aviation history, the Company is donating its entire Concorde fleet.
Concorde has been accepted by and will subsequently be shown at the following aviation institutions:
> The National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, United States
The ferry flight will take place on Thursday 12 June 2003.
> Musée de l`Air et de l`Espace, Le Bourget, France
The ferry flight will take place on the day the Paris Air Show is inaugurated at Le Bourget by French President Jacques Chirac on Saturday 14 June 2003.
> Sinsheim Museum, Germany
The ferry flight will take place on Tuesday 24 June 2003.
> Airbus, Toulouse, France, pending the opening of an air and space museum there.
The ferry flight will take place on Friday 27 June 2003.
>Concorde F- BVFF, currently undergoing a major overhaul, is scheduled to go on display at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport.
A special additional Paris-New York-Paris flight is scheduled for 2 and 3 June.