History of our Campaign

“I had put my faith in someone doing something. I had assumed that Concorde would always be there. I was annoyed and ashamed that I could have done something, but chose to do nothing. It was too late – or was it?”

These are the words of Ross Mallett, Chairman of the Save Concorde Group, at the Group’s first public meeting on 20th March 2004. He told of watching the events leading up to the retirement of the Concorde fleet in 2003. He had never flown on Concorde, but he reasoned that he need not pay for a flight just then, that “there was always next month”, and “October would come and they would annouce continuation of the service”. By the time the last three commercial flights had landed at Heathrow, he realised, “it was too late. We, the public, had done nothing; our amazing achievements with the French, evident in this magnificent white bird, were destined to become memories in the text of museum exhibitions.”

An end and a beginning Ross immediately started a website, to attract attention and support. The first few members attended the final Concorde flight into Filton, on 26 November 2003, and distributed flyers among the crowd. Word spread, and the Save Concorde Group began to receive support from ex-Concorde pilots and engineers, people in British Airways and Air France, and contacts in the Civil Aviation Authority. MPs and MEPs, and luminaries such as Sir Terence Conran and Phil Collins, also gave their backing to the campaign.

Spreading the word Throughout 2004, members of the Save Concorde Group spread their message to the public throughout the UK. They began a petition, and took it to events across the country, campaigning in all weathers. The group circulated amongst the crowds who came to see Concorde G-BOAA floated up the Thames on a barge. They petitioned in busy shopping centres and even on a tube train. In addition, they sold merchandise including car stickers, photographs, and prints, much of it produced by the group members themselves. The campaigners spoke to more than 20,000 people, from former Concorde workers to people who had enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime flight, to those who just loved watching the aircraft in action. Thousands told of their admiration for the Concordes and those who operated them, and voiced their intense regret that the planes had been retired. Some people doubted that the campaigners could meet the immense challenges of returning the aircraft to flight, but signed anyway because they so wanted to see the Concordes in the air again or, as one man said, because “I like your spirit”.

Aiming for the top Buoyed by this public support, the Save Concorde Group took their petition to No. 10 Downing Street on 22 October, to enlist the support of the Government and the nation. The hand-in was covered by newspapers, radio, and TV stations all over the UK. The event was also picked up by press and internet sites across the world, from USA Today to the Independent in Bangladesh. Sir Terence Conran sent a letter expressing his fervent support. It seemed that Concorde had not been forgotten; two weeks later, Virgin Atlantic issued a statement saying that they wished to see a Concorde preserved “to fly for the nation”. A month later, the group presented a copy of the petition to Airbus UK at Filton, asking for the company’s aid in restoring Concorde’s Certificate of Airworthiness, so that the aircraft would be permitted to fly again. More coming soon!