Con­corde (cor­re­spon­dence) con­tin­ues

Pilot - - PILOT -

I write in re­gard to the re­cent Con­corde ar­ti­cle from Pat Malone (Oc­to­ber), and the rather crisp let­ter from Lau­rie Price chal­leng­ing it, plus Pat Malone’s re­ply to it (both in De­cem­ber). Putting aside the emo­tion that spilt out in the above, eco­nomics seem to lie at the heart of this de­bate.

Air­line prof­its are hugely af­fected by air­craft costs, be they pur­chased, leased or the sub­ject of any other fi­nan­cial ar­range­ments to ob­tain them. So, Bri­tish Air­ways pay­ing just £1 for each Con­corde re­lieved them of mil­lions of pounds of book costs, hence en­abling Con­corde to gen­er­ate op­er­a­tional prof­its. If the gov­ern­ment or man­u­fac­turer had charged a more re­al­is­tic price, even if it were a loss-leader, an en­tirely dif­fer­ent fi­nan­cial out­come would have re­sulted for BA.

None of this, though, takes away from the en­ter­pris­ing man­ner in which the air­line op­er­ated them, nor their splen­did pi­lots who not only man­aged the Con­corde fleet but proved to be good busi­ness and mar­ket­ing peo­ple as well.

In clos­ing, Pat Malone raised the key point of the Con­corde still lan­guish­ing at Heathrow, and which tends to get moved around like an un­wanted guest at a party. Some­thing much more dy­namic and fit­ting re­ally must be de­cided upon which re­flects the tech­ni­cal de­vel­op­ment and ex­cel­lence of its age. Mike Car­riv­ick by email

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