A Dubai consortium is reportedly bidding to turn one of British Airways’s seven remaining Concorde supersonic jets into a tourist attraction, while BA said it was mulling its options.
The Times said that if the jet – which reached supersonic speeds and halved the total flight time from London to New York – were to be shipped to the Middle East, its wings would have to be clipped off to fit on a ship.
It cited a source close to the Dubai consortium as saying the group would spend millions of pounds (euros, dollars) to restore the interior of the plane, which is currently kept at London’s Heathrow Airport.
”Sending it to Dubai would be a kick in the teeth for Britain’s aviation heritage,” Ben Lord, a spokesman for the Save Concorde Group, told The Times.
”Chopping off its wings and putting it on a ship would be the final insult.”
If the Concorde were sold, it would be the second piece of Britain’s engineering history to be bought up by Dubai – the QE2 cruise liner is being turned into a floating hotel there.
”Concorde is an enduring icon and a proud part of our heritage,” a spokesman for BA said.
”Six British Airways Concordes are on display and open for public viewing at locations in the UK and abroad. We’re looking at a number of options for the seventh, including a permanent home at Heathrow but we have not made any decisions yet on its final location.”
A Concorde crash in July 2000 at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, which killed 113 people, began the process that led to all Concordes – both French and British – being taken out of service in 2003.
The plane, born of British and French collaboration, embarked on its maiden commercial flight in 1976. Only 20 were manufactured: six were used for development and the remaining 14 entered service, flying mainly trans-Atlantic routes at speeds of up to 2,170 kilometres per hour.