Straight & Level 23 April


Rex Features

Why BA must revive Concorde

With the 10th anniversary of the last Concorde service fast approaching (British Airways’ G-BOAG from JFK, together with two other Concordes on ceremonial final flights, landed at Heathrow on 24 October 2003), campaigners have not given up trying to get the old girl back in the sky.

The Save Concorde Group are banking their hopes on a BA statement in 2003 that the airline was considering retaining one of its fleet in a suitable condition for non-commercial flying.

That never happened, of course, and pledges by Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson and other luminaries to set up a heritage trust to keep it airworthy proved little more than talk.

The group’s chairman, Ben Lord, says: “We simply ask for BA to do the right thing by Concorde and the British people by looking seriously into Concorde flying in a heritage capacity.” He adds that there is “fundamentally no technical reason whatsoever” why Concorde cannot fly again, and questions claims by BA and Air France that restoring the type to flying condition would not be financially viable.

BA, suggests Lord, has “become just the same as any other airline” because it no longer has “the flagship that Concorde brought to it”. If it is not willing to entertain flying Concorde again, it should hand over the rights to an organisation that would be, he says.

BA’s hubris is highlighted, he says, by the fact the airline continues to “make good use of Concorde” in its marketing, on its website and TV commercials. These, he suggests rather amazingly, “even today prompt calls to BA’s reservations hotline, where customers still want to book flights on Concorde”.

Burying the hatchet

Unfortunate email news alert headline juxtaposition of the week: “Mrs Thatcher dies; Airbus breaks ground for new assembly line…”

Spark of genius

Unfortunate headline of the week, spotted by Ian Goold: “Boeing 787 Dreamliner Blazes Through the Testing of its New Battery System”.

Goold adds: “I thought the idea was not to.”

Raising the woof

Carefully look at the registration number below and try to fight the temptation to shout:

“…let the dogs out?”

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Tegel good look

On the subject of Concorde, James Wilkins sends in this picture of markings at gate 1 of Berlin Tegel (TXL), still there from when an Air France type made occasional visits to the then West German enclave in the late 1970s and 1980s.

“Just wondering if these stop-lines will be moving to BER  [the new Berlin Brandenburg]?” he asks.

He adds: “Gate 1 is the only gate that was marked for Concorde, and is the “show gate” (closest to terminal, and easy to photograph from outside) in TXL. Funny thing is, it seems to have been repainted every time the other markings were redone. It’s still sitting there, maybe waiting for the happy day to come.”



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