Concorde return to flight - decomissioning of the fleet
Upon retirement back in 2003 their were 9 Flying Concorde airframes,
For the British Airways fleet flying airframes were G-BOAC, G-BOAD, G-BOAE, G-BOAF and G-BOAG
Non flying British Airways airframes were G-BOAA, G-BOAB.
G-BOAA was used as a source of spares for the flying fleet between 2000 and 2003
G-BOAB was half way through a major check but also being used for the project rocket refit which would see the fleet flying for the future.
For the Air France Fleet they were F-BVFB, F-BVFC, F-BTSD and F-BVFA
Non flying Air France airframes were F-BVFF which also was going through a major check
Air France had two less airframes than British Airways because of the Paris Crash with the loss of F-BTSC and F-BVFD was scrapped.
Above left; BA Concorde G-BOAD with her engines removed waiting to be displayed in New York
Above; BA Concorde G-BOAD during decomissioning her engines lie on sandbags, they will never power her across the atlantic again
British Airways - Retirement and decomissioning
The British Airways fleet was retired to various museums throughout the world, ownership of the airframes would be retained by British Airways, effectively the aircraft are on loan to the museums. A basic contract was drawn up between BA and the museum that would last for 10 years.
The decomissioning process was different for each of the 5 flying airframes dependant on it's final destination, one airframe would have to have the Olympus 593 engines removed, others would remain intact.
Of the flying fleet listed above only one aircraft would have it's engines removed completely and that was G-BOAD, this airframe was to be transported by barge to the intrepid museum so weight would be a problem.
All the airframes owned by British Airways would have their hydraulic fluids drained from all three hydraulic systems, all remaining fuel was to be removed and stick drained, all pressurised containers discharged including escape slides, fire bottles and oxygen systems.
Rumors exist that BA had asked for the power systems to be destroyed and that some Concorde should have their fuel tanks filled with concrete, this is simply not the case.
It was not a stipulation in the loan contract between British Airways and the museums that the Concorde airframes should go under cover, this is something of a travesty. Of the flying fleet the following airframes have been outside since retirement in 2003.
G-BOAD, G-BOAF, G-BOAG.
Recent developments suggest that G-BOAG will go under cover in the "Near future" and G-BOAF is planned to go undercover in 2017.
No plans exist to our knowledge to get G-BOAD under cover in New York.
Of the retired flying fleet only one aircraft has been protected since decomissioning that is G-BOAE she is in truly remarkable condition
The BA loan contracts expired in 2013, we have not had any news of a renewal or heard if the contracts have been renewed.
Above; G-BOAG as she is being decomissioned, her escape slides are deployed, she will never carry a fare paying passenger again.
Air France - Retirement and decomissioning
The Air France fleet was retired, again, to various museums throughout the world, ownership of the airframes would be given to the museum where the airframe was to be displayed.
The decomissioning process was similar to the British Airways process and was different for each of the 5 flying airframes dependant on it's final destination. Some of the Air France fleet would be in a far better condition than the BA airframes due to the locations chosen and the fact that the airframe was owned by the museum in question.
Of the Air France flying fleet listed above one aircraft would have two of it's engines removed and that was F-BVFB, this airframe was to be transported by barge, lorry and crane to the Sinsheim Auto and Technik museum so weight again would be a problem. In addition F-BVFC has had one of it's engines removed for "unknown reasons" we suspect this is due to the crash investigation.
All the airframes owned by Air France would have their hydraulic fluids drained from all three hydraulic systems except one, F-BTSD however on all airframes all remaining fuel was to be removed and stick drained, all pressurised containers discharged including escape slides, fire bottles and oxygen systems.
F-BTSD was not decomissioned in the same way as all the other Concorde aircraft, the museum at Le Bourget wanted to have a unique display so the hydraulic fluids were not drained and some of the electrical systems were preserved and have been in use since 2003.
One other glimer of hope for the pro RTF enthusiasts is F-BVFA at Washington, the Smithsonian National Air Museum prides itself on the preservation of their artifacts and as such Concorde F-BVFA is likely to be in extremely good condition, the cabin has not been opened since retirement and it is likely that leaking fluids have been topped up with preservative where possible.
Above and Right F-BVFA at Washington. Cockpit photo taken shortly after retirement in 2003.
Remaining Production Aircraft
Non flying production aircraft - Condition
G-BOAA - Was cut for the move to Scotland, prior to this she was used as a scource of spare parts for the fleet, has no engines installed
G-BOAB - Has been left outside at Heathrow airport, reports are that this airframe is in "Extremely poor condition" have been verified by Heritage Concorde. G-BOAB has no engines in place
F-BVFF - On display at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris, has no engines in place and is completely stripped internally due to being half way through a major check upon retirement, this airframe has also been outside since retirement in 2003