Plus de Concorde


Both Air France and British Airways will retire the SST this year, ending the era of 3-hour, $9,300-roundtrip transatlantic passenger flights, and the career of a pretty cool-looking plane. I was going to say the seventies are now officially over, but in fact the Concorde was first proposed in 1956 and was based on a spec written in 1962. Here's a brief history of this supersonic but ultimately time-consuming misstep for commercial aviation.

*Update: The great Richard Branson, whose fight to establish Virgin Atlantic did more to reveal the public/private nature of ostensibly market-driven monopolies than any other event I can think of, says he wants to buy up the Concorde fleet for the same nominal pound BA initially paid the government:

"When the Conservative government gave British Airways Concorde for ?1 they said that if another British company ever wanted to operate it they could.

"If having examined the figures Virgin Atlantic, with its lower cost base, believes it can make a success of it we will be asking British Airways to give us the planes for the same price that they were given them for (?1) together with the slots and other facilities that they use."