An Air France Concorde made its last ever flypast at a Paris Air Show yesterday, as "Sierra Delta" arrived to find its final resting place at Le Bourget's Air and Space Museum.


Concorde F-BTSD, which entered service with Air France on 9 May 1980, landed at midday after taking off from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and making a farewell supersonic flight over the Bay of Biscay. The airline's chairman, Jean-Cyril Spinetta, officially presented the aircraft to the museum's director Marc Alban. The first prototype Concorde already resides at the museum.

The Concorde taking its place at Le Bourget holds several records, including the speed record for a commercial airliner flying westward around the world, in October 1992, and the round-the-world speed record in the eastward direction in August 1995. The aircraft has made 11 round-the-world flights and totaled 12,974 hours during its 5,136 flights.


This Concorde weighs 930kg less than the heaviest Concorde, helping to explain its outstanding performance, says Air France. Air France and British Airways (BA) announced in April that they would be withdrawing their Concorde fleets from service. Both claimed falling passenger revenue and the increasing costs of maintaining the supersonic jets had conspired to make the aircraft uneconomic to operate.


The French carrier conducted its last commercial Concorde flight on 31 May, as F-BTSD touched down at Charles de Gaulle carrying 68 passengers and 11 crew members from New York's John F Kennedy airport. BA is not scheduled to end its Concorde flights until 31 October.

The five Air France Concordes are all being housed at various aviation museums as well as one being displayed at Charles de Gaulle Airport. The first has already been ferried to the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. On 24 June, another will travel to Germany's Technik Museum in Sinsheim, while on 27 June one will go to Airbus in Toulouse where it will go on display in a new air and space museum being built there.

BA's seven Concordes will also find homes at various museums. Although final sites have not been announced, some likely venues are Brooklands Museum, the Bristol Aviation Heritage Centre, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, and London Heathrow Airport in the UK, as well as Boeing's museum in Seattle.

However, Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson has said he intends to continue his bid to take over the BA Concorde fleet, and even BA bosses have said they would like to maintain at least one Concorde in airworthy condition.

Source: Flight Daily News