Braniff Airways Concorde Operations

No Concorde was ever painted in the Braniff Airways livery

BA Concorde operating for Braniff

The joint Braniff Airways, British Airways & Air France services 1979-1980

 

Aviation history was made at Mach .95 on Friday January 12, 1979 as two Concordes, belonging to Air France and British Airways, flew in from the east and lined up to land on parallel runways at Dallas DFW. The simultaneous touchdown marked the beginning of a regularly scheduled supersonic service between Dallas DFW and Europe by Braniff in cooperation with Air France and British Airways. The new interchange was the first of its kind involving a United States carrier and foreign airlines.

Braniff’ Airways had originally placed options for three Concorde aircraft with Aerospatiale in September 1966, but then cancelled these options in February 1973. But six years after they cancelled their options, the airline now had an ambitious expansion program, and wanted to operate Concorde. On January 12 1979, they introduced their first Concorde service between Dallas FWA in Texas, and Washington D.C. Dulles airport, and Europe on interchange of flights with British Airways and Air France. The flights between Dallas and Washington were operated by Braniff Flight and cabin crews from which British or French crews would take over for the remaining segment.

To operate this service, there had to be a temporary change in ownership of the aircraft. This was because the American version of the CAA, the FAA would not allow the non-US aircraft a US certificate of airworthiness, so therefore the aircraft ownership was only transferred to Braniff Airways for the Washington-Dallas segment of the route. As well as changing flight crews the US approved documentation and procedures had to be present on the flight deck, which meant that the UK/French documentation had to be stored in the forward toilet. There also had to be a change in the aircraft registration, while being flow on the Dallas – Washington – Dallas routes the “G” or “F” was covered up with white tape. On landing at Washington the ground staff would pull work ladders up to the tail and peel of the F- or G- registration numbers and changed them to an “N” with two letters and the numbers “94″ after that. This was repeated every time the Concordes landed in the US from Europe.

The French Concordes used on the joint Braniff operations

 

 

The four Air France Concordes that were reregistered for use in the AirFrance/Braniff interchange programme, were registrered N94FB, N94FC, N94FD, N94SD while being operated by Braniff Airlines.

 

N-94FB was re-registered F-BVFB and edreverted to F-BVFB after the end of the interchange programme.

N-94FC was re-registered F-BVFC and reverted to F-BVFC.

N-94FD was re-registered F-BVFD and reverted to F-BVFB.

So clearly N-94SD, which was formerly F-BTSD, could not also have been registered N-94FD while being operated by Braniff as that was the registration of Concorde airframe 211, the former F-BVFD.

The British Concordes used on the joint Braniff operations

 

G-BOAC was re-registered by BA G-N81AC & re-registered N-81AC for Braniff Airways

G-BOAA was re-registered by BA G-N81AC and re-registered N-94AA for Braniff Airways

G-BOAB was re-registered by BA G-N94AB and re-registered N-94AB for Braniff Airways

G-BOAD was re-registered by BA G-N94AD and re-registered N-94AB for Braniff Airways

G-BOAE was re-registered by BA G-N94AE and re-registered N-94AE for Braniff Airways

G-BOAF was re-registered by BA G-N94AF and re-registered N-94AF for Braniff Airways

 

 

The crews used between Dallas and Washington Dulles were Braniff crews in both the flight deck and cabin. The aircraft were never painted in Braniff colours, they retained British Airways and Air France liveries. At the behest of their insurers, British Airways were forced to fly a captain and flight engineer as flight deck observers during the US segments as in reality the British Concordes were still British Airways owned for insurance purposes. The American pilots were allowed to fly Concorde up to the age of 60, while the British Airways pilots were forced to retire at 55 years of age. So it occurred occasionally that an American Braniff pliot would be flying the aircraft in US airspace, where as if he had been in UK airspace flying for BA, this would not have been allowed.

There were 14 Braniff pilots (3 captains, 5 First offices, 4 flight engineers, a check pilot and check engineer) which were all trained in both France and the UK to operate Concorde, not just at the subsonic speeds that their services would operate at but also up to Mach2.

Braniff Concorde Crews

Some rather interesting stories that should be recorded for history regarding the Braniff Concorde services, was told by one of the Braniff cabin crew members.

“One afternoon a very irate Air France purser came flying up the outside stairs to the aircraft demanding to see the “Braniff Purser.” I followed him down the stairs below the underside of the aircraft, where he showed me some long, messy dark purple stains on that pristine white fuselage; this was from where we were dumping the leftover red wine down the galley drain. That was actually what we had been instructed to do. Needless to say I advised my manager and the process was immediately changed”.

While no one will admit it I have heard that on the last few flights by Braniff, the aircraft “accidentally” slipped over Mach 1.0 while over the mountains of Tennessee but who’s to say? We were all so proud to be a part of that remarkable aircraft even if it was only subsonic.

BA & Air France Concorde operating out of Dallas for Braniff

On one occasion one FAA official while on a proving run for the aircraft in the US, commented that they flew the airplane into cities that would never of normally seen Concorde at their local airport while it was in service. But while they were on the ground in Lubbock, all of the crew were having lunch in the terminal building, and when they looked up they saw a whole line of people who had formed asking for their autographs, he commented that they were “pretty tickled” by that

Concorde was never painted in a Braniff livery, although there were many artist impressions, of which you can see one example of at the top of the page. If the service had been successful and therefore continued, it would have been more than likely that one side of the aircraft would have been given a Braniff livery, in a similar way to what was done to BA Concorde G-BOAD for the Singapore Airlines services, where one side of the aircraft was painted in the Singapore Airlines livery, while the other side remained in the BA Negus livery.

Fares for the service

 

Dallas FWA to Washington Dulles

Washington Dulles to Dallas FWA

 

1979

Feb – May one way – $154 – $169 /Sept – Oct one way – $194

 

1980

Feb – one way – $227

Concorde at Braniff Terminal 1980

23RD AUGUST 2003

 

BRITISH AIRWAYS HONOURS THE BRANIFF AIRWAYS CONCORDE SERVICE

In the last few months before the retirement of Concorde, BA flew a special Concorde flight out of New York JFK to honour the former Concorde crews of Braniff Airlines. Some of the former crew who were able to enjoy this flight were the following…

  • Captain Dean Smith, Braniff Concorde Pilot, and his wife.

  • Captain Smith, Joe Mitchell

  • Brooke Watts

The Concorde used on this for this rather special flight was G-BOAE, which was piloted by its captain Chris Norris.

 

The menu on this flight was…

Appetiser:

Fresh fruit appetiser

 

Biscuits:

Walker’s Scotland

 

Entree:

Poached salmon terrine on a lentil and potato salad

 

Cheese:

Stilton, Chevre and Pont L’Eveque

 

Dessert:

Three Irish Chocolates in Decorative box

 

Drink:

Many glasses of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Champagne