Whatever Happened To The Concorde?

December 1, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Mass supersonic air travel was meant to be the logical next step in the continued development of humanity’s air-faring capabilities and The Concorde was meant to get us there with a (sonic) bang. Yet it disappeared. Why? Simon Calder explained:

  • Its mesmerizing speeds meant that it was fuel inefficient. It flew 45 miles per ton of fuel. In contrast today’s Boeing 787 can travel 120 miles on the same amount of fuel – and it can carry twice as many passengers while doing it.
  • It had a really small range. Most flights required it to make a pit-stop to refuel.
  • Its fuel problems were manageable when oil cost $30 a barrel. Now it costs more than three times as much making it too expensive to fly.
  • The sonic boom that it produced meant that it could only travel at supersonic speeds over the ocean, limiting the number of routes it could be flown on.
  • A fatal air crash in July, 2000 led to each of the Concordes having to be modified – at great cost to the airlines.
  • After the modifications were carried out an initial proving flight first flew on September 11th, 2001. It landed soon after the World Trade Center was hit.
  • After 9/11 the reluctance of Americans to fly put a final end to the Concorde.
  • Today the planes are hosted in museums and can be rented out for weddings.

Read more about what it was like to fly on the Concorde, the dress code, and how passengers could once get £1,000+ tickets for £150 over here.

Source: The Independent