27 February 2003

BA considers scrapping Concorde

By Chris Bunting

British Airways might scrap Concorde because of a collapse in demand from business travellers.

Most of BA's fleet of seven supersonic airliners have safety clearance until 2009, but falling ticket sales and the high running costs of an aircraft that uses three times as much fuel as normal jets might bring forward Concorde's demise.

"We are looking at when Concorde should retire, although no decisions have been taken," a BA spokesman said yesterday.

The airline confirmed that nearly half of its 22 Concorde flight engineers had been told they would be transferred to other planes and given the option of voluntary redundancy.

Three years ago, an Air France Concorde crashed near Paris and killed 113 people, forcing both the French and British airlines to pay for expensive modifications. After the crash, demand for supersonic flight fell and recent economic woes have prevented a recovery in the premium business market.