British Airways Grounds Concorde Fleet

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The Independent Online

British Airways today suspended its Concorde operations with immediate effect. This unprecedented step follows latest advice from the British regulatory authorities (Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau)

British Airways today suspended its Concorde operations with immediate effect. This unprecedented step follows latest advice from the British regulatory authorities (Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau)

BA took action after being told that the aircraft's certificate of airworthiness was about to be suspended. The decision comes after last month's Air France Concorde crash near Paris, which killed 113 people.

BA chief executive Rod Eddington said: "BA's first concern is always safety. All our aircraft are subject to continuing and exhaustive safety checks.

"We have been in constant contact with the airworthiness authorities in the UK and France, the airframe and engine manufacturers, and Air France throughout Concorde's flying life, and particularly closely since the accident in Paris last month.

"Since then, we implemented an extensive series of additional procedures and checks on the aircraft's airframe, engines, tyres and wheels, hydraulics and other systems and operating procedures, above and beyond Concorde's already demanding schedule of maintenance, inspections and operation parameters.

"The British CAA was in complete agreement with our decision to resume Concorde's services shortly after the Air France crash.

"We were notified this morning by the AAIB that, in the light of latest information available to it, it and its French counterparts, the BEA, would tomorrow recommend that the certificate of airworthiness for the aircraft should be suspended.

"We discussed this with the CAA and we understand that it would be minded to accept this advice.

"As soon as we heard this, we immediately withdrew our supersonic fleet from service this morning, cancelling the Concorde service BA001 which was about to depart for New York.

"Passengers on that flight and on the return BA002 from JFK are being transferred to alternative services."

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