A group of British aviation enthusiasts committed to seeing Concorde fly again has revealed it has the funds to purchase one of the supersonic jets and bring it back into service within the next four years.
Club Concorde, which consists of “ex-captains, ex-charterers and people passionate about Concorde” hopes to use £120m funding in reserve for its ambitious “return to Flight” project.
The club’s president, Paul James, has described the prospect of having Concorde return to the skies as the “dream of the global Concorde fraternity”. The aircraft, which can fly at twice the speed of sound and was the crowning jewel of the British Airways and Air France commercial fleets, fell out of favour after an Air France Concorde crashed in Paris in 2000. Concorde was retired soon after, making its final flight in 2003.
In a post on the club website published earlier this year, James said: “The main obstacle to any Concorde project to date has been ‘Where’s the money?’ – a question we heard ad nauseam, until we found an investor. Now that money is no longer the problem it’s over to those who can help us make it happen.”
The organisation hopes to buy the Concorde currently on display at Le Bourget airport in Paris. If it is successful, the plane will be restored before resuming operation as a private heritage aircraft that will be flown at air displays as well as being available for charter. The aim is to recommence flights in 2019, which will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Concorde’s first flight.
Club Concorde has a second project to bring the aircraft back into the public consciousness, with plans to display a Concorde in London and Paris.
In London, the Concorde will be displayed on top of a two-deck platform on the river Thames, near the London Eye. The new tourist attraction would include a restaurant, bar, souvenir shop and aircrew presentation area.
A British businessman has provided a £40m investment for the displays, which Club Concorde hopes will be completed by late 2016.
While the Club Concorde project is focused on preserving a symbol of the golden age of air travel, commercial airlines have been progressing in their plans to launch contemporary supersonic jets.
This August Airbus filed patents for an aircraft capable of flying four times the speed of sound, which could go from London to New York in an hour.