New York: British Airways' test flight for the Concorde last week
was the first in a raft of PR moves leading up to the November 7
relaunch of the service.
The Concorde flew from Heathrow to New York and back on October 22 in
order to check that the systems were in place for resuming service,
including arrivals, departures, ground crew, and catering. Air France
will be holding a similar test flight this week.
The media was invited to watch the landing from the roof of BA's
building at JFK International Airport. ABC's World News Tonight,
Reuters, NBC, and AP television covered the test.
The next major PR operation will take place on the day of the launch,
when an invitation-only group of passengers will board the BA and Air
France Concorde aircraft in the UK and Europe. Select members of the
media, primarily from Europe, will join top corporate customers and
"We will hopefully have a joint press conference in the BA building with
a lunch later in the city," said John Lampl, VP of communications for
BA. New York politicians and the heads of the two airlines will also
On November 8, a group assembled from US top customer lists, business
travel agencies, and some media will take the trip to the UK.
Ticketed customers will be able to fly the Concorde beginning November
9, and a special promotional fare has already yielded at least 3,000
Lampl said that a lot of the questions being asked concerned security
and whether BA is concerned that the high-profile Concorde may be a
target for terrorist action. "We are dedicating a huge security effort
for all our flights, including the Concorde," he said. "Some people have
asked, 'Why are you doing this?' One reason is to show our support for