News

Concorde’s Final Flight – A Decade On

Dear Members, Colleagues, Loyal Supporters and Friends,

Today marks the final day of anniversaries that we have brought to you to share, reflect and commemorate on over the past 7 1/2 months. At approx 1pm, Concorde G-BOAF “Alpha-Foxtrot” captained by the legendary Les Brodie, landed for the final time (so far) into her British birthplace – Filton before a crowd of tens of thousands of people.

As we witnessed Concorde descending into the history books, in the days leading up to that occasion ten years ago, a small group of people found themselves acquainted, feeling like they were witnessing a wake of a deceased relative, rather than a national celebration. After exchanging contact details, the beast was born and Save Concorde Group was established, focussed and determined on achieving one goal – reversing what we had just witnessed and seeing Concorde take to the skies again, albeit in a heritage flight capacity.

Over the past ten years, we have encountered many challenges, a few dark ones but mainly bright ones, but no one could estimate the extent of the mission in hand BUT we have come from a small group of people witnessing premature history in the making and become an organisation steadfast in it’s objectives, embracing opportunities to meet a whole plethora of people from the very highest levels of management in some of the companies directly involved in Concorde through to thousands of enthusiasts and supporters. As your Chairman, I am hugely proud of the team we have who are dedicated in what runs through the DNA of this group. Each and every one of them, past and present, have given up countless hours of their lives as well as helping to finance all aspects of the group’s life to ensure that we leave no stone unturned in our mission. WhilI believe we have the basis of a world-class team who come from a broad range of professional backgrounds, least of all, our engineering team – the skilled folk who enabled our plane to grace our skies for almost 28 years. We may not have a large engineering team but we all know that we have the best quality engineers that’s available in the Concorde world. Fundamentally, we have also strived to keep Concorde’s legacy and name alive through our awareness raising campaign, reflected through the hundreds of media interviews given over the past decade, which ensures that the public are educated about all aspects which we continue to deliver through our first-class unique talks produced by Ricky Bastin, and we are also extremely proud of our working relationships that are in place, especially with our friends at Olympus593. These associations strength our team under a simple team acronym “Together Everyone Achieves More”. We also remain extremely privileged to have Concorde’s number 1 customer as our Honorary President, Mr Fred Finn and thank him for his ongoing support and assistance.

As much as our future has been difficult to progress as quickly as we would like, by now you will, I am sure, realise that we could not be more focussed and determined in our pledge to you that not only we will see this aircraft fly again, but we are also doing all that we can to build up to this point. We have some very exciting project work that’s ongoing as we speak and we hope to release more details of this throughout 2014. Through the first quarter of next year, we will also be holding various events on both sides of the Atlantic so stay tuned for more information!

As much as the SCG team have carried the baton for the ultimate achievement, none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for the support, encouragement, assistance and loyal dedication shown by YOU, our supporters and also Concorde’s fans. For that, we remain eternally indebted.

My very best regards,
Ben Lord
SCG Chairman

CONCORDE – TEN YEARS ON FROM RETIREMENT AND SHE CAN STILL FLY!

10 years ago today, British Airways Concorde commercial operations flew for the final time marking the end of supersonic travel. But although all 7 of BA’s Concorde fleet have been resting at museums for the past decade – they still could be flying!

Just after 4pm on Friday 24th October 2003, three Concorde’s landed in procession at London Heathrow Airport marking the end of 27 years of supersonic Concorde services. Shortly after the retirement of Concorde, Save Concorde Group launched their campaign to see Concorde flying again in a heritage capacity which is still going strong. A decade on, renewed appeals by SCG to BA following BA’s pledge that “they are looking seriously at keeping one Concorde in a suitable condition for non-commercially flying” have resulted in a positive response from the airline.

Ben Lord, Chairman of the Save Concorde Group says “Today is the most significant milestone since Concorde’s retirement. Having renewed our appeal to British Airways that they follow through with their 2003 pledge, we are encouraged to have recently received some feedback from them which offers the opportunity for us to finally open discussions with them in the coming weeks. Fundamentally, there remains no technical reason whatsoever why Concorde cannot fly again as has been stated previously by our team of former BA and Air France Concorde engineers.”

Fred Finn, Honorary President of SCG and Guinness World Record holder for the most travelled person by air (including 718 flights on Concorde) continues “A decade since I witnessed the demise of a massive part of my life, I still miss Concorde terribly and remain positive that it’s not a case of if, but rather when, she will take to the skies again. It is where she belongs and it’s hard to believe that the world has continued to go backwards in terms of aviation travel over the past ten years. Furthermore, I remain incredibly proud of the work carried out by the SCG team where we all share the same vision in our interest for Concorde.”

When the campaign began in 2003, it was a mission into the unknown, however a decade on, SCG continues to challenge British Airways’ position on Concorde, maintaining that if the airline is not interested in flying Concorde in any capacity, then the group remain ready and waiting to hold discussions pertaining to the potential release of any of the Concorde airframes from British Airways’ ownership to an organisation that would be, and at that, have the capability to be. We have a number of people from within the airline and wider business community who are interested to be involved with, and financially back, such a project.

Ben Lord adds “On reflection, the only real reason for Concorde’s retirement was politics, and that remains the single obstacle standing in the way of her return to the skies. At the very outset of our campaign’s inception, we vowed to never give up the fight for Concorde campaigning again unless substantially proven otherwise and ten years on, we’re still here!”

Since 2003, British Airways has become just the same as any other airliner, and no longer possess the flagship that the status of Concorde brought to it. If a BA Concorde was to fly it would undoubtedly generate an incalculable amount of prestige and marketing kudos to the airline – after all, BA continues to make good use of Concorde in a marketing capacity both on it’s website, and through it’s TV commercials in recent years, which even today prompts calls to their reservation hotline where customers still want to book flights on Concorde!

Ultimately, SCG continues to stress that whilst efforts to return one Concorde to the skies goes on undiminished, the sight of a Concorde back in the skies will no doubt strengthen the resolve of the British people, to allow us to return one of the BA planes to flight and thus satisfy the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the British public – it really is a matter of when Concorde will fly again, rather than if.

SCG 10th Anniversary Event, 24th October, Heathrow

It is with great pleasure that we can now unveil our plans in full for an event to be held on Thursday 24th October 2013 to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the final British Airways Concorde commercial flights.  Click here for more info!

We’ve done our best to put together a “Supersonic-filled” day with plenty of opportunity to learn, discuss, debate, enjoy and most of all, reflect, on our favourite aircraft.

Hopefully, we’ve managed to put together some attractive packages to ensure that whatever your budget, or schedule, you are able to participate somehow.

Funds raised from this event are going towards the cost of the event, with any surplus being raised towards funding SCG projects which are currently in progress.

If you would like any further information regarding the event, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We all look forward to seeing you on 24th October!!

Relevant information in links below:

Itinerary for the day

Booking form

 

RIP Sir David Frost – BA’s most high-profile loyal Concorde supporter

It was with much regret that the Save Concorde Group (SCG) yesterday learnt of the death of one of Concorde’s most loyal supporters, Sir David Frost, from a suspected heart attack at the age of 74 whilst on board the Cunard Cruiseliner, MS Queen Elizabeth.

Sir David Frost had for over 20 years, become one of the most loyal high-profile customers and supporters of the British Airways Concorde fleet.  His popularity amongst American TV audiences over his 50-year career saw him fly Concorde around 20 times per year for more than 20 years, totalling up more than 400 flights on the aircraft.

Ben Lord, SCG Chairman said “As soon as I heard the news break yesterday morning, I felt immensely sad by Sir David’s passing and reflected on his relationship with Concorde.  Sir David had a deep affection for Concorde which was epitomised by his invitation to be one of the passengers on the final British Airways Concorde flights on 24th October 2003.  Many a time I remember hearing him on videos and interviews regarding Concorde with the most infamous quote that’s left an indelible mark in my mind forever – ‘There’s the view of New York from the Triborough Bridge, there’s the Sydney Opera House and there’s Concorde; arguably the 3 most beautiful manmade sights in the world’ – I simply couldn’t agree with him any harder if I’d tried.”

Fred Finn, SCG’s Honorary President and current world record holder for the world’s most travelled man, including 718 flights on Concorde said “I had a very long friendly relationship with Sir David Frost; in fact he was on my 500th Concorde flight which was the same day he met my twins in New York’s JFK Airport. I am greatly saddened by his death, especially as we had many years of flying together even before Concorde”

As we reflect upon one of Britain’s greatest broadcasting legends, and the sadness at his passing, we also feel that it is greater shame that Sir David will not be here to soak up the enjoyment when Concorde finally does fly again, which we now hope will be able to fly in tribute to one of it’s eternally loyal supporters.

Please see below interview hosted by Sir David Frost with BA Chief Concorde Pilot, Mike Bannister and Tony Benn MP on Concorde’s retirement in Octobter 2003

Interview by Sir David Frost on Concorde\’s Retirement.

RENEWED CALLS FOR CONCORDE TO FLY AGAIN ON 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF RETIREMENT ANNOUNCMENT

10 years ago today, British Airways and Air France jointly announced their Concorde commercial operations would cease flying later that year.

Air France’s Concorde operations ceased on 31st May 2003, some 6 weeks later, with British Airways continuing to fly until 24th October 2003 when three of it’s Concorde fleet landed ceremonially at London’s Heathrow Airport.  Shortly following this sad and premature end to Concorde’s commercial life, the Save Concorde Group launched their campaign to see Concorde flying again in a heritage capacity.  A decade on, the Group have today written to the Chief Executive of British Airways renewing it’s appeal to open discussions after BA publically stated in 2003 that “they are looking seriously at keeping one Concorde in a suitable condition for non-commercial flying”.

Ben Lord, Chairman of the Save Concorde Group says “Today is a key milestone date in the Concorde retirement calendar, and with this year being 10 years since Concorde retired makes that even more significant.  We simply ask for BA to do the right thing by Concorde and by the British people, and deliver on what it says it would – by looking seriously into Concorde flying in a heritage capacity.  Fundamentally, there remains no technical reason whatsoever why Concorde cannot fly again as has been stated previously by our team of former BA and Air France Concorde engineers.  Previously British Airways have claimed that having Concorde flying again was not commercially viable but not only do they continue to not release any evidence verifying this, they also remain resistant to the fact that this is about a Concorde flying in a heritage capacity, not in a commercial capacity which therefore makes the costs somewhat different to when Concorde was being operated commercially.”

Ben Lord continues “SCG has challenged British Airways’ position on Concorde for almost a decade now and maintain that if the airline is not interested in flying Concorde in any capacity, then the group remain ready and waiting to hold discussions pertaining to the potential release of any of the Concorde airframes from British Airways’ ownership to an organisation that would be, and at that, have the capability to be.  We have a number of people from within the airline and wider business community who are interested to be involved with, and financially back, such a project.  Since 2003, British Airways has become just the same as any other airliner, and no longer possess the flagship status that Concorde brought to it.

If a BA Concorde was to fly it would generate such a huge amount of prestige and marketing kudos to the airline that no marketing budget could ever begin to calculate – after all, BA has continued to make good use of Concorde in a marketing capacity both on it’s website, and through it’s TV commercials in recent years, which even today prompts calls to their reservation hotline where customers still want to book flights on Concorde.”

Ultimately, SCG continues to stress that whilst efforts to return one Concorde to the skies goes on undiminished, the sight of a Concorde back in the skies will no doubt strengthen the resolve of the British people, to allow us to return one of the BA planes to flight and thus satisfy the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the British public.

BA Rejects Proposal for Bristol’s Concorde

After almost 10 years on the ground since the final ever flight of a British Airways Concorde on 26th November 2003, a decision has finally been reached as to the long-term future of this aircraft!

In July 2010, after it was announced that Airbus UK would be closing the “temporary” exhibit on its site at Filton later that year, SCG embarked upon a campaign dubbed “SOS: Save Our Speedbird”.  After the failed Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Application made by the Concorde Trust in May 2011, SCG were invited by British Airways to submit proposals for a £2m museum which would have seen Alpha-Foxtrot undercover within 6-9 months. The SCG proposal was a fraction of both the overall cost and timeframe offered by that made by the Concorde Trust (effectively meaning that G-BOAF could have been available for public viewing four years before the newly proposed date of July 2016). SCG made the presentation to BA and Airbus well over a year ago (February 2012), only to be informed by British Airways last week that the SCG proposal has not been selected as the preferred bidder.

Ben Lord, Chairman of the Save Concorde Group says “This is another sad day for Concorde and particularly for Alpha-Foxtrot. We maintain that our proposal is the only viable and cost effective one that would see Alpha-Foxtrot placed undercover in a short timeframe given the closure, and subsequent intended development to Filton Airfield. Instead, an alternate proposal has been selected, costing a staggering £12m which would see a further huge delay to getting Alpha-Foxtrot undercover. As only two proposals were presented to BA, we understand the winning proposal to be that of the Concorde Trust (who have recently merged with the Bristol Aero Collection). Whilst fundamentally, we continue to support whoever is chosen to look after Alpha-Foxtrot long-term, we still do not see any evidence of how the vast majority of the £12m funds are going to be raised, whilst the overall project value continues to climb, and the open date put back time and time again.”

Ben Lord continues “Whilst of course SCG are very disappointed not to have been chosen to take care of Alpha-Foxtrot long-term, we remain very concerned as to the future of this aircraft under it’s new custodians given the length of time that has passed, with no money now being raised at all from museum tours, and the rapidly changing situation at Filton Airfield.  A point of further concern is the amount of money that has been spent out of the restricted fund of monies raised from the sale of the Concorde Coming Home DVD and the temporary museum tours. Over £750,000 had been raised from these two elements of the museum appeal, yet over £400,000 has been spent with nothing to show for this at all. On behalf of all those who generously donated money to the Concorde appeal in good faith, we remain extremely concerned as to exactly how this money has been spent and/or to whom it has been paid – particularly as this sum would have paid for the lions share of the SCG proposal. This significant depletion of funds, coupled with the new projected costs and delayed public opening date gives us great cause for concern. Indeed, we would go further and call for a very clear public statement from the selected bidder outlining exactly what has happened to the museum appeal funds and how they subsequently propose to fund the £12m project.”

Whilst SCG still has other preservation proposals pending response from British Airways, the organisation continues to remain steadfast and committed in exploring every possible way of seeing Concorde fly again in a heritage capacity, along with ensuring that all Concorde’s around the world are preserved to the best possible standard with the full assistance of our significant resources and expertise.

PLEASE REVIEW THE ATTACHED NOTES TO PRESS RELEASE FOR CRITICAL INFORMATION RELATING TO THIS ISSUE !!

CONCORDE CRASH APPEAL UPHELD ON 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF CONCORDE AGREEMENT

The guilty verdict that has been overturned in a successful appeal by Continental Airlines comes on the 50th anniversary of the Anglo-French treaty being signed which led to Concorde become a reality!

In 2010, a French court originally ruled that Continental Airlines were guilty of manslaughter following the strip of metal that had fallen off a plane that took off from the same runway just ahead of the ill-fated Air France Concorde flight. The airline was fined €200,000 and ordered to pay €1m in damages to Air France. Upon launching an immediate appeal today, another French court has upheld the appeal and has cleared Continental Airlines of any wrongdoing.

Ben Lord, Chairman of the Save Concorde Group says “This is massive news for Concorde. It dispels the myths that the plane was in anyway unsafe and shines light on the fact that there was many factors that went on that day that have not brought into question and it is now time for the truth to be FULLY exposed to a greater extent than it already has been. Whilst it does nothing to the relatives of those lost on that day, it at least starts to paint a clearer picture of the events leading up to the catastrophe that occurred that day.”

It is widely reported that there were a number of negligent factors that took place before the plane came into contact with this strip of metal, yet these critical points along with eyewitness statements were rejected out of hand by the original investigation. It would appear from SCG sources that all of the original findings were done to an extent that saved face to the French airline industry, a point that Continental Airlines made also in their appeal.

Ben Lord continues “Today, history has been made once again just as it did 50 years ago with the signing of the Anglo-French treaty that ultimately saw Concorde grace the skies. The significance of today’s news should not be underestimated and is ultimately going to lead to the truth being exposed into the events that ultimately led up to the assassination of Concorde – a topic which we take great interest in and is a fundamental part of our campaign which we are turning attention to over the next 12 months in the run up to the decade anniversary of Concorde’s retirement in 2013.”

What is very clear, is that had the negligent factors of that day not have taken place, not only would this awful disaster not have happened, but Concorde would not have gained a reputation that she did not deserve and would still be flying today.

SCG remains committed to exploring every possible way of seeing Concorde fly again in a heritage capacity, along with ensuring that all Concorde’s around the world are preserved to the best possible standard with the assistance of our resources and expertise that it has.

Concorde and Return to Flight

November 26th 2012 marks exactly 9 years since the last Concorde flight, when Concorde G-BOAF (Alpha Fox) touched down at Filton Airfield in Bristol, UK. In all that time, Save Concorde Group (SCG) has campaigned tirelessly to promote the best interests of all the remaining Concorde aircraft – and, to continue our campaign to return Concorde to the air.

Concorde is the jewel in the crown of British and French engineering prowess – yet look what has been allowed to become of her. This magnificent machine, still state of the art, is now merely a museum piece or worse – an outdoor relic subject to the elements, slowly sliding into ignominy.

SCG has been closely involved in the plans to create a new aviation museum centred on Concorde G-BOAF at Filton, but as yet the plans are still not finalized. Chairman Ben Lord makes the following comment: “Another year, another anniversary and our beloved Alpha-Foxtrot still remains on the ground, with no roof over her. With Filton Airfield imminently due for closure, it is imperative that the green light is given, preferably to our low-cost proposal, for this aeroplane to finally be in the undercover museum environment that she thoroughly deserves.”

SCG’s primary objective, however, is to get Concorde back in the air. We have been advised by Concorde experts that there remains no technological reason why Concorde could not once again take to the skies. SCG, along with our partners in France (Olympus593), continues its fight to get this iconic aircraft back into the skies, and we will not give up the fight.

In the words of Dr David Jones, SCG Communications Director: “This anniversary is a crucial time to stress our on-going commitment to return a Concorde to flight in a heritage capacity. There remains no technological reason why this aircraft cannot fly again, and 2013 sees the 10-year contracts agreed with the retirement museums expire. With this in mind, and given the earnest dedication shown by SCG thus far to the preservation of Concorde, we would call for new discussions with all relevant parties to consider the release of an aircraft with a view to returning it to a flightworthy state.”

Today we are releasing a specially commissioned video, as part of a wide-ranging publicity campaign, in advance of the 9th anniversary of Concorde’s retirement.

We continue to push for our main stated aim: to return a Concorde to the skies in a heritage capacity so that the world can once again marvel at the unique aircraft we created – and the legacy it left for aviation in general.

Please help join our fight by disseminating the video as widely as possible, joining our Facebook site and keeping up the pressure on everyone and anyone who can help to get this beautiful aircraft off the ground and back into the skies.

We have the engineering expertise standing by – we just need YOUR help and YOUR support.

For more information regarding this PR and the Save Concorde Group, please contact:

Ben Lord
Chairman
Tel: 01359 232667 / 07791 394143 E-Mail: ben.lord@saveconcordegroup.co.uk

Dr Dave Jones
Comms Director
Tel: 07739 016938 E-mail: dave.jones@saveconcordegroup.co.uk

Web: www.saveconcordegroup.co.uk
Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter (save_concorde)

Mr Concorde becomes Mr President !

Most of us can only dream about the prospect of ever flying Concorde but for one man, that dream became something pretty special that would set world records. Today, he becomes Honorary President of the organisation campaigning for Concorde to return to the skies again!

Businessman Fred Finn holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most travelled man, having covered some 15 million miles and visited 139 countries in the course of his life. He also holds the record for making the most passenger flights on Concorde – a total of 718 spanning the whole of Concorde’s life in service, between 1976 and 2003. He has flown an estimated 3 million miles in the supersonic aircraft, equivalent to flying to the Moon and back six times.

Ben Lord, Chairman of the Save Concorde Group says “Fred has always been a huge stalwart in the Concorde world throughout it’s lifetime and has been a good friend to our organisation since our early days of existence. It is an absolute privilege to be welcoming into SCG as our Honorary President, a role which we are all excited to be working alongside with Fred in.”

Although many of these Concorde flights were taken for business purposes, Fred Finn also used his unique experience to act as an unofficial ambassador for Concorde and for British Airways. With an extensive network of contacts in the travel industry, and an address book full of high-profile names from the business, sport and entertainment worlds, Fred has been much in demand as a public speaker and a consultant to airlines and travel companies.

Earlier today, Fred said on the SCG Facebook page “I am so very delighted to be with SCG, a truly dedicated team. Quite simply, they use my language with their “can-do” approach and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to get our favourite aircraft back where she belongs! I look forward to working with the team in realising our aim in the future”

Fred loved Concorde from the day of his first flight on the beautiful white bird, and was deeply dismayed when the aircraft was retired. He is still a passionate Concorde enthusiast today. The Save Concorde Group is honoured to have his support in our campaign to preserve Concorde in optimal condition and, one day, to return the jet to the sky.

CONCORDE – SALUTING ONE QUEEN FROM ANOTHER

Ten years ago this afternoon, very similar scenes to that of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee will take place outside Buckingham Palace for the culmination of the weekend’s Diamond Jubilee festivities.  However, there will be one very noticeable absentee – Concorde.

Many who will remember the events of ten years ago will reminisce that the finest episode of that weekend was the symbolic flypast over The Mall and Buckingham Palace of a British Airways Concorde with the Red Arrows – it was a moment of sheer pride amongst the nation.  A decade on and the fly past for the Diamond Jubilee will simply be no different to other flypasts that commemorates events of national prestige with the noticeable absence of Concorde.

Ben Lord, SCG’s Chairman said, “Whilst we are all incredibly proud to be British, and partake in the celebrations that this weekend offers – we could all be standing a lot prouder.  The very fact that our beautiful Concorde is not part of this weekend’s events in anyway is a tremendous shame.  She should be flying high above Buckingham Palace this afternoon, saluting one Queen from another!”

Since Concorde’s retirement back in 2003, SCG continues to tirelessly campaign for Concorde to return to our skies in a heritage role for special, national events like this weekend.  There remains no technical reason why this aircraft cannot fly again, and there is a common view shared amongst those who knew better than anyone how this plane operated, that she could fly again.  It is simply down to sheer corporate politics as to why this aircraft remains on the ground.

Ben continues, “It should be remembered on this huge occasion just how important Concorde is to the Royal Family.  She has flown in the last two jubilees and with the eyes of the world are on London this weekend, and will continue to be throughout this summer when the 2012 London Olympics begin in July – surely we should be showing the world just how Great Britain really is?”

Following the announcement of Concorde’s retirement in 2003, British Airways stated they would investigate looking into flying a single Concorde for ceremonial occasions; however, nothing further ever came from this.  Concorde is a national icon and she should be displayed as British Airways vowed at the time of her retirement “in a manner befitting her iconic status”.  Surely this should be back where she belongs?