Remember the Concorde? It’s been well over a decade since the world’s fastest commercial aircraft made its historic last flight on November 26, 2003. The effects of a post-September 11 era and a general downturn in the aviation sector led to the demise of the Concorde back then. While British Airways and Air France, the erstwhile operators of the Concorde, have, on several occasions, denied the possibility of the Concorde coming back to service, new ray of hope has emerged in the form of a group of aviation enthusiasts called the “Club Concorde.”
According to USA Today Travel, the members of Club Concorde, which include former Concorde pilots, Concorde frequent fliers, and a bunch of enthusiasts, are determined to bring back the aircraft from the dead. And from what is being revealed now, they have also managed to gather enough funds to return one of the retired planes back to airworthy condition. While the return of the Concorde as a commercial airliner is out of question, it can still be brought back to life in the form of a private chartered service — thanks to the $160 million funds the club has managed to garner.
A report by British newspaper The Telegraph reveals that with all the money, Club Concorde has chalked out a plan to purchase a Concorde aircraft and put it on display in Central London. Their main intention however is to purchase another aircraft and restore it to be capable of flying again.
If the current aim of the group goes per plan, we can expect the Concorde to start flying again. The latest this could happen is by 2019. That year would coincidentally be the 50th anniversary of Concorde’s inaugural flight made back in 1969.
Paul James, president of Club Concorde reveals that the group plans to acquire the aircraft by 2017. He revealed that the group had made an offer to purchase a Concorde aircraft on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York last year. It was however declined. They now plan to approach the museum a second time with more money on the platter. If accepted, they plan to bring the Concorde by freight from the Hudson to the Thames river.
Even as efforts are on to bring the Concorde back to life, it is pertinent to note that supersonic commercial flight is back in the reckoning — thanks to the booming airline industry. Recently, Airbus filed patents for an aircraft that would be capable of traversing the distance between New York and London in just an hour — while travelling at four times the speed of sound, or twice the speed of the Concorde.
Do you think the Concorde will one day return to the skies? Or have you pinned all your hopes on the Airbus supersonic plane?
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]