Concorde eradicates the tobacco habit

Pop stars, movie moguls and business tycoons flying Concorde across the Atlantic have lit up for the very last time. From today, smoking is being banned on the three-and-a-half hour flight from London to New York as part of British Airways' drive to weed out tobacco on nearly all its services, writes Michael Harrison.

A spokesman said that reaction to its existing smoking bans had been overwhelmingly favourable and he saw no reason why the response from Concorde passengers, paying pounds 6,000 a head for a return trip, would be any different.

Concorde seats 100 passengers and of late the number of rows allocated to smokers has been in decline. Among its most regular customers are Sir David Frost and Michael Jackson, neither of whom smoke. But the next time Eddie George, the chain-smoking Governor of the Bank of England, needs to get across the Atlantic in a hurry he will find not a single BA service that lets him light up.

Smoking is already banned on 750 BA flights and from today a further 350 destinations are being added to the list so that 90 per cent of BA services will be smoke-free.

Tobacco has slowly been eradicated from the BA network since the airline first introduced non-smoking trials in the UK in 1988. The few remaining routes on which it is still allowed include Spain, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China, Russia, the Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

BA's chief executive ,Bob Ayling, a non-smoker, said that more than eight in 10 passengers now requested non-smoking seats and policy would continue to be shaped by its customers.