FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Craig O’Neill
Marketing Communications Manager
SEATTLE, October 30, 2003 — British Airways announced in London today the donation of a supersonic Concorde jet to The Museum of Flight. The aircraft will be flown from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Seattle’s King County International Airport, site of the Museum, on Nov. 5. The aircraft will be one of only four Concordes on display outside of Europe.
“We are delighted to be able to share Concorde with the public here in the Pacific Northwest and with our visitors from around the world,” said Museum president and CEO Ralph Bufano. “This exciting airplane represents the pinnacle of technological achievement in commercial air transportation, and it is highly fitting that this historic type joins other airliners in our world-class collection such as the Douglas DC-2 prototype; the Boeing 727, 737 and 747 prototypes; and the only de Havilland Comet in North America.” The British-built Comet was the world’s first commercial jetliner.
The Concorde will be on permanent public display from the time of its arrival in Seattle. The aircraft cockpit and cabin will be open to the public as soon as interpretive signage can be installed and arrangements made to preserve the aircraft from wear and tear. The Concorde will be parked in the Museum’s outdoor gallery along with America’s first presidential jet (a Boeing 707), the 747 prototype and other significant jets. Eventual plans call for the enclosure of all these aircraft in a very large Commercial Aviation Wing, which will be the third and final phase of the Museum’s ongoing major expansion.
“As we retire Concorde after more than 27 years of exemplary service with British Airways, it gives us great satisfaction to know that we are sending it to such a good home in Seattle,” commented Rod Eddington, the airline’s chief executive. “The Museum of Flight is internationally known for the significance of its collection and the high standards of stewardship it maintains for the aircraft in its care. We are excited about the Museum’s plans for telling the British Airways Concorde story to generations of visitors to come.”
Concorde, which first flew in April 1969, has been the world’s only supersonic jetliner since 1978, when the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 was withdrawn from passenger service. With a cruising speed of more than twice the speed of sound — around 1,350 mph — Concorde can carry 100 passengers from New York to London in less than three-and-a-half hours at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet. Developed jointly by the governments of Great Britain and France, Concorde was flown only by British Airways (and its predecessor BOAC) and Air France. The latter airline retired Concorde from commercial service in May 2003; British Airways’ Concorde made its final commercial flight on Oct. 24. Since entering service in 1976, more than 2.5 million British Airways passengers have flown faster than sound on Concorde.
Details on Concorde’s Nov. 5 arrival in Seattle will be available on the Web at www.museumofflight.org or by telephone at (206) 768-7211 as they are finalized.
Note: High-resolution digital images of Concorde and The Museum of Flight are available for download at http://www.museumofflight.org/news/press.html
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF FLIGHT
The independent, non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space museums in the world. The Museum’s collection includes more than 135 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the Red Barn®—the original manufacturing facility of The Boeing Co. The Museum’s aviation and space library and archives are the largest on the West Coast. More than 100,000 individuals are served annually by the Museum’s on-site and outreach educational programs. The Museum of Flight is one of only 750 museums in the nation and nine in Washington state that are fully accredited by the American Association of Museums.
ABOUT BRITISH AIRWAYS
British Airways, Britain’s flagship carrier, is one of the world’s largest international passenger airlines, and renowned as an industry leader with a strong reputation for quality of service, comfort and innovation. British Airways has invested more than a billion dollars in new products designed to redefine business travel for the 21st century. This includes a new Club World Business Class featuring the world’s first flat bed for business class and World Traveller Plus, a new class of travel for economy travelers offering a private cabin with wider seats and more legroom. Further information on flight schedules and fares to Britain and destinations worldwide from 23 destinations in North America is available by visiting the airline’s Web site at www.britishairways.com or by calling British Airways toll-free at 1-800-AIRWAYS.