LONDON: The Concorde is ready to fly again, so the PR teams of
British Airways and Air France are ramping up their efforts to attract
new customers - and woo back the old ones .
The companies have been granted air-worthiness certificates following
$44 million modifications to the aircraft that included lining
the fuel tanks with Kevlar. The Concorde fleet was grounded following an
Air France Concorde crash in July 2000 that killed 113 people.
"We are saying that we hope to resume Concorde service sometime in
October," said John Lampl, VP of communications for North America.
Lampl said that plans are underway for a launch flight from London to
New York, with about 20-30 seats dedicated to media. It is possible the
company will also run a similar media-heavy flight from New York to
In London, outreach programs took place this past weekend to bring
various constituencies up to date on the progress of the renovations.
Corporate travel managers, business and leisure travel agents, and
Executive Club members were briefed separately.
An invitation-only briefing session was also held with staff and some
members of the general public who had expressed an interest. The
briefings were held at Heathrow Airport, adjacent to the engineering
bay. "Part of the orientation will be a tour through the airplane,
through the seats," Lampl said.
A media briefing is also being held in New York this week. British
Airways is working with GCI Group to organize all its events.
Planning meetings are already underway for the launch, which will
probably include taking a group of journalists onto the runway during
takeoff, as well as a press conference after the plane lands.