Concordes Finish a Week from Friday -- 2 Seats on e-Bay
Concorde, the aircraft that has defined an era of air travel,
arrived at Dulles International Airport yesterday for a farewell
visit. British Airways supersonic flagship, which retires from
commercial service altogether on October 24, 2003, arrived in the
"We wanted to bring the aircraft here on a farewell flight to
show our appreciation for Washington, one of our most important
gateways in North America," said David Noyes, British Airways'
executive vice-president, North America. "It's our way of
expressing gratitude for a 33-year relationship with Dulles that
continues to grow."
For the moment, British Airways operates three, year-round daily
flights between Dulles and London-Heathrow, all with four classes
of service, including completely flat beds in First Class and Club
World. Back in 1970, British Airways -- then BOAC -- began serving
Dulles with one flight a day with the British-built VC10 jetliner,
stopping at Philadelphia on its way to Heathrow. Now, the three
London departures represent more than 1,000 seats a day.
"British Airways has a long and successful relationship with
Dulles and we are honored that Dulles International Airport was
selected to be one of the three airports receiving a farewell visit
from Concorde," said James E. Bennett, Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. "The first
commercial flight of Concorde to the USA occurred on May 24,1976 to
Dulles Airport, and it seems only fitting that one of the final
flights is back to Washington to honor that historic moment."
Popular, but not really profitable
More than 2.5 million passengers have flown Concorde since 1977
when daily New York-London flights were inaugurated. In the years
since, the aircraft has built up a regular clientele of top
corporate executives, the rich and famous and those who merely want
to sample supersonic flight. The most frequent passenger, an oil
company executive, has clocked almost 70 round-trip transatlantic
flights a year.
The world's fastest commercial airliner, Concorde has always
provided a breathtaking travel experience. It accelerates from a
takeoff speed of 250 miles per hour to a cruising speed of 1,350
miles per hour and a cruising altitude of about 60,000 feet, almost
11 miles above the earth's surface. From that altitude, passengers
get a breathtaking view of the curvature of the earth, a view
usually reserved for astronauts.
Still setting records:
A typical westbound flight takes about three and a half hours,
compared with more than seven hours for a subsonic flight. Last
Wednesday, October 8, 2003, on Concorde's farewell visit to Boston,
the aircraft broke the UK to USA speed record by making the trip in
a mere three hours, five minutes and 24 seconds.
On February 7, 1996, a Concorde made a New York to London
crossing in a record two hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.
Two seats on the Concorde's final
flight are for sale on e-bay.