MIAMI, United States. — On November 26, 2003, the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde, that legendary supersonic passenger plane that was in service between 1976 and 2003, landed for the last time on a symbolic flight operated by the British airline British Airways.
That day, the G-BOAF Concorde took off from London Heathrow Airport, passed over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and landed at Bristol Filton, a small air terminal located in the southwest of England.
The history of the Concorde is not unknown: it was the only passenger plane capable of flying from Paris or London to New York in just three hours, a record that today, despite advances in civil aviation, seems still distant.
Like most aircraft, the Concorde was not without its tragic events. On July 25, 2000, Air France Flight 4590, registration F-BTSC, crashed in Gonesse, France. The accident killed the 100 passengers of the aircraft, its nine crew members and four people on the ground. It was the first major accident in which this model of aircraft was directly involved, which would end up going out of circulation three years later.
Before that accident, the Concorde was considered the safest passenger plane in the world, since previously it had not registered any deaths. In the aftermath of the tragedy in Gonesse, the aircraft was given safety enhancements, its much stronger fuel tanks were redesigned, and extra coating was applied to the tires to prevent future problems.
The development of the Concorde program was one of the most momentous events in the history of civil aviation. However, the high maintenance costs of the aircraft and its limited production of units meant that, over the years, it ceased to be profitable.
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