Concorde may be ready to re-enter service with British Airways and Air France in the late summer/early autumn, almost one year after the tragic crash near Le Bourget.

BA says that it has completed five months of modifications to the first of its seven airframes and hopes to be ready to begin test flights next month. Flight trials of the first modified aircraft - G-BOAF - will confirm that the Kevlar fuel tank liners - using technology pioneered in F1 racing cars and helicopters - and armoured wiring in the undercarriage bay don't cause any unexpected problems.


Work has already begun on a second airframe. Total cost of all the modifications is expected to be in the region of £17 million ($24 million).

Concorde's certificate of airworthiness was suspended last summer after the crash of an Air France aircraft at Gonesse which lies half way between Le Bourget and Charles de Gaulle airport.

It's believed that the jet struck a piece of metal on the runway at CdeG, bursting a tyre which then disintegrated. Chunks of rubber struck the underside of the port wing and the resulting impact damage and shock waves caused the fuel tanks to rupture. This created the ghastly scenario which unfolded as the flight crew struggled to maintain height in a brave attempt to reach Le Bourget for an emergency landing.


They almost made it - but tragically lost any vestiges of control when still a couple of miles short and crashed on to a hotel at Gonesse, killing 113 people.

If the ground and safety tests - particularly on fuel transfer and additional weight - satisfy British and French safety regulators, services could re-commence, possibly in September. Modification work on the first aircraft took more than five months - much longer than the airline had hoped - after engineers encountered problems fitting the Kevlar trays.

Source: Flight Daily News