Air Transport World

British Airways Concorde now considered "flagship of the fleet". (The Concorde at 10)

London--British Airways' Concorde program has undergone a remarkable transformation from a dubious economic white elephant with highly questionable public relations value to a position of high rank and prestige at the airline. The supersonic Concorde is now called "flagship of our fleet," according to British Airways Chief Executive Officer Colin Marshall, who says we now look at it as our "golden eagle."

Like Air France British Airways celebrates the tenth anniversary of Concorde service on the 21st of this month. The fleet now stands at seven transports, and Marshall believes they will continue in service to the y ear 2000.

Since service was begun ten years ago between London and Bahrain BA has carried 800,000 passengers in its Concorde fleet, most of them over the North Atlantic between London and New York or Washington. Scheduled service is currently limited to those major markets now, the Bahrain operation and later Singapore extension having been discontinued in 1980. In addition the North Atlantic operation was extended beyond Washington to Miami in March of 1984.

British Airways has supplemented its scheduled operation with an extensive charter program which now accounts for 10% of the Concorde's revenue with about 200 charters being flown annually. Charters have helped make British Airways' Concorde Division a profit center that is actually producing profits, something few would have predicted in the early days of the operation.

BA's seven Concordes are generating about $100 million in annual revenue now which would be $150 million at current exchange rates. Concorde Division reported a $12 million profit for the most recent fiscal year ended March 31, 1984. Figures beyond that have remained guarded because of the airline's move toward privatization, although BA officials claim that profits are holding at least at that level. By contrast, the operation with only five Concordes lost $2.3 million in the 1975/76 fiscal year.

In discussing the Concorde's profitability British Airways officials admit that it is not a real program in the sense that the Concordes have been fully paid for or financed by the airline. …

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