When was Concorde's last flight? | The Sun

DESPITE last taking to the skies two decades ago, Concorde remains the fastest commercial plane ever built.

The aircraft wowed passengers with its incredible speed, travelling twice as fast as sound to cross the Atlantic in under three hours.

When was Concorde's last flight?

Concorde took off for its final commercial flight on October 24, 2003.

It brought a close to an almost three-decade-long chapter in aviation history.

Concorde had been in service for 27 years, having made its first commercial flight on January 21, 1976.

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It was jointly developed by the British and French governments and was seen as a significant achievement in aviation technology.

The aircraft could hit a maximum speed that was more than twice as fast as sound – making it a symbol of both speed and luxury.

That translates to about 1,354 mph, meaning the sleek jets could make a trip from New York to London in around three and a half hours.

Its fastest ever trip between the two cities fell on February 7, 1996, when British Airways flew Concorde from New York JFK to London Heathrow in two hours, 52 minutes, and 59 seconds.

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Who flew the last Concorde flight?

On April 10, 2003, Air France and British Airways announced they would be retiring their fleet of Concorde aircraft.

Air France made its final flight on June 27, while British Airways retired its fleet some four months later on October 24 after a farewell tour.

In a week of farewell flights, Concorde visited Birmingham (October 20), Belfast (October 21), Manchester (October 22), Cardiff (October 23) and Edinburgh (October 24).

The final Concorde flight was operated by British Airways, which saw the aircraft flown from JFK to Heathrow.

Why did they stop flying the Concorde?

Air France and British Airways blamed low passenger numbers and rising maintenance costs.

Passenger numbers fell after an Air France Concorde crashed minutes after taking off from Paris in July 2000, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground.

The plane ran over a piece of metal on the runway, bursting a tyre which caused the fuel tank to ignite as it was taking off.

The 9/11 attacks in 2001 also had a severe impact on the number of people choosing to fly.

The operators also blamed rising maintenance costs. 

Although advanced when it was launched, 30 years on the planes were outdated and expensive to run.

By the time Concorde was retired it was the only aircraft in the British Airways fleet that required a flight engineer.

In 2003 Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Atlantic was interested in buying the fleet.

But it came to no avail, as Branson later wrote that Virgin Atlantic had wanted to run the fleet for many years to come but no agreement was reached.

The last Concorde built and the last to fly went on display in October 2017 at the Aerospace Bristol museum, a £19m centre in Filton.

Concorde number 216 was moved to its new home by engineers from British Airways and Airbus, who towed the iconic aircraft across Filton Airfield and up a ramp into the new purpose-built hangar.

Filton was where half the Concordes were constructed, the others being built at Toulouse.

Six other retired BA service planes are on display at Heathrow airport, Manchester airport, Barbados airport, the National Museum of Flight near Edinburgh, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, and New York's Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.

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Air France also had seven service jets but one crashed and another was broken up for spares.

The five still intact are on show at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum at Washington DC's Dulles airport, the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum in Germany, the Airbus factory in Toulouse, the Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget, and Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris.

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