Fond farewell: Grounding of the Concorde fleet

ITC | 25 Mar, 2014

A sad day for all flight-enthusiasts came in 2003 when the Concorde fleet was grounded. We asked Captain Mark Jealous how he felt on that fateful day…

“We were very sad, we were very disappointed and I think it would be fair to say we were very cross and angry. We didn’t want to stop obviously. And the way we heard was disappointing. British Airways is obviously listed on the stock exchange and everything commercial has to be run past the stock exchange, so I actually heard about it from Teletext. But I understand the reasons.

Towards the end of Concorde, the reception we had from the public at Heathrow was just fantastic – they actually ended up building a stand for us! The crowds in that last week of operation were just unbelievable. The crowds in Manchester for my last flight were huge. 24th October 2003 was the last day I ever flew the Concorde.

There was a real mixture of emotions on that last day – excitement at the three planes flying together, the crowds at the airports; it was incredibly exciting and exhilarating. I miss it big time. I don’t think any Concorde will fly again. I personally don’t think we’ll see supersonic flight again. Unless they can fly overland – which they can’t because of the sonic boom – they could only fly over water if they did.

Would people be willing to pay the money to get to Sydney from London in 90 minutes? I don’t know. People are telling us they want to fly cheaper and slower so that’s what we’re giving them.”

Speed of sound-bites by Captain Mark Jealous

  • The only time I ever got a radiation warning we were 12 miles off the coast of New York. We’d flown over a Russian nuclear submarine!
  • The time I was the most scared was 8,000 feet coming into London. This thing shot past the window…it was a Mickey Mouse helium balloon! It terrified me!
  • I’d have loved to have been an astronaut if I hadn’t been a pilot. The saddest day of my life was watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon because it wasn’t me.
  • On take off, going to New York or Barbados, we would have 100 tonnes of fuel on board.

Did you know?

  • More than 2.5m passengers flew supersonically on British Airways Concorde flights
  • Concorde’s fastest transatlantic crossing was on 7 February 1996 when it completed the New York to London fl ight in 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds
  • Inspiring Travel Company has sent more passengers to Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport with British Airways than anywhere else in its 40 years
  • Concorde first flew to Barbados in 1977 to fly home two very important passengers – the Queen and Prince Phillip
  • In 2014 British Airways is celebrating 60 years of flying to Barbados

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