Concorde (correspondence) continues
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