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Concorde not to fly at air shows

Last commercial flight
Concorde's last commercial flight on landing at Heathrow last week.

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CNN's Richard Quest reports on Concorde's final voyage from New York to London. 
SPECIAL REPORT

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- British Airways said it is unable to keep any of its Concorde aircraft in service to fly at airshows and will retire all of its seven supersonic planes at locations in the UK, the United States and Bermuda.

BA said on Thursday a study to assess whether a single Concorde could be maintained for non-commercial flying at public events showed it would not be possible.

"The technical and financial challenges of keeping a Concorde airworthy are absolutely prohibitive. Airbus has told us that they are unable to support such a project, whether it be for British Airways or anyone else," BA Chief Executive Rod Eddington said in a statement.

Commercial services for Concorde ended last Friday when three Concordes flew into Heathrow airport in London in a spectacular and emotional finale to the era of supersonic passenger travel. (Full story)

Concorde has been put into retirement as already high running costs escalated after an Air France Concorde crashed in July 2000, killing 113 people. Plane-maker Airbus sealed the jet's fate when it said earlier this year it would stop supplying parts and maintenance.

BA said it planned to keep one of the Concorde on show at Heathrow.

It said negotiations were underway to keep the other six at Airbus UK, Filton Bristol; Manchester Airport; the Museum of Flight, near Edinburgh, Scotland; The Museum of Flight, Seattle, United States; The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York, United States; and Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados.

"We have chosen the final homes based on a number of criteria: their ability to properly exhibit and preserve the aircraft, their geographical location and accessibility to the public," Eddington said.

BA said it will hold an auction of Concorde memorabilia on December 1, with profits going to charity.

The auction at the Olympia Exhibition center in London will include a machmeter, a nose cone and Concorde pilot and passenger seats.



Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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