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October 2003
Bye bye Concorde!
Concorde at Leeds-Bradford Airport
The final passenger flights of Concorde take place on October 24th with British
Airways retiring the supersonic aircraft after 27 years of commercial service. We look back at its visits to West Yorkshire.


On this day: Concorde flies for the first time

I Love Concorde!

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Although Concorde passenger flights have been a regular feature of our skies since 1976 it was not until 1986 that this supersonic aircraft made its first landing in West Yorkshire and then it was a French plane.

Pleasure flights on British Concordes started in the following year and since then 20,000 people have enjoyed the flight of a lifetime from Leeds-Bradford Airport.

Concorde taking off from Leeds-Bradford Airport

Concorde flew to Yorkshire for the last time in June 2000 when it was decided to discontinue its flights to and from regional airports because of pressure on Heathrow. Hundreds gathered in Yeadon to watch Concorde makes its last descent and one of the passengers told the BBC: "There's only one Concorde!"

Man with binoculars and child
Looking out for Concorde

The Paris crash in July 2000 in which all 109 people aboard were killed, followed by 15 months of non-flying, as well as the downturn in the American economy and the aftermath of September 11th, all contributed to make the plane uneconomic and the decision was made to take the supersonic aircraft out of service.

People waiting
Waiting for Concorde's last landing at Yeadon

Concorde's last scheduled flight takes place on Friday afternoon (October 24th) when the aircraft will touch down in front of watching crowds at Heathrow Airport having taken off in the morning from New York.

It is still possible that in the future we might look up and see the unmistakeable shape of Concorde in the sky - British Airways has not ruled out the possibility of keeping one of the aircraft for fly-pasts and air shows.

Bye bye Concorde!

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The 100-passenger Concorde cruises at more than twice the speed of sound at around 1,350mph and flies as high as 60,000 ft.

While conventional aircraft take more than seven hours to cross from London to New York, Concorde can complete the transatlantic journey in less than three and a half hours.

Britain and France started working separately towards a supersonic aircraft as far back as 1956 and decided to develop one jointly in 1962.

The partnership between British Aircraft Corporation (now Airbus UK) and Aerospatiale (now EADS) led to 20 Concordes, including 14 for commercial use,
being built.

The first commercial passenger flights were on January 21, 1976 and the first transatlantic flight to Washington DC followed on May 24,
1976, with New York services beginning in 1977.

British Airways' seven Concordes have operated nearly 50,000 flights, clocking up more than 140,000 flying hours and travelling some 140 million miles.

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