Concorde G-BOAB known as Alpha Bravo is the last Concorde to remain at Heathrow, and she last flew on a flight from JFK to Heathrow on the 15th August 2000, she never received the post Paris crash modifications, although it was planned to return this Concorde back to flight status, before Airbus and Air France forced British Airways to ground Concorde in 2003.
Following the Concorde retirement in 2003, the British Airways plan was for her to be placed on display next to the new Terminal 5 as a gateway guardian for British Airways, where she would act as a true ambassador for the company and the heritage of Concorde!
Then BA gifted Concorde G-BOAB, along with its log to BAA on 21st January 2004, which was the 28th anniversary of Concorde’s entry into service on condition that it remained at Heathrow. Following this, G-BOAB was placed on display at the airport near to Runway 26, as a mark of pride for this great aircraft, airport workers named this area “Point Rocket”, the Rocket being the nick name given to Concorde by BA staff over the 27 years of passenger services.
She was removed from this position on the 10th May 2006, and since then has had nowhere to be properly displayed. There have been many reasons stated for this move, such as that after the Spanish company Ferrovial took over BAA, Heathrow’s new owner appeared to have lost interest in Concorde and wanted £3million per year from BA to keep her in this location, and hence therefore BA moved her back onto their own land at BA engineering, land that BA has owned since the 1950s.
There have also been some claims that she would be in the way of the new Airbus A380 when it landed. Another claim was that she needed to be moved due to on going maintenance and building extension work at Heathrow. But the fact is that neither BA nor BAA has made any statements concerning her move. But Heritage Concorde has received some information from an employee of BAA, that they will not allow this Concorde on their land, what a disgrace if true!
Since her removal from “Point Rocket”, she has spent most of her time behind the British Airways Engineering building, sometimes within sight and in recent times sort of hidden away, but during the later end of 2010 she was cleaned and put on show for the BA family’s day, and looks amazing in her present location. There had been some claims prior to this occasion that BA wanted to hide her from the public, a so called “out of sight, out of mind” game. But again cleaning her off and placing her on show shows the untruth behind this story.
There was a claim in the UK newspaper “The Times” during 2010, which stated the following news article….
The Times: BA may clip Concorde’s wings and sell her to Dubai
There is some corner of a foreign desert that is for ever England. Dubai already has the Queen Elizabeth 2, the world’s fastest cruise ship, and now it is bidding for Concorde, the fastest airliner.
Forty years ago tomorrow, the British version of the graceful delta-winged aircraft took to the skies on its maiden flight. The 22-minute journey made by 002 from Filton, Bristol, to Fairford, Gloucestershire, prompted an outpouring of national pride that swept aside complaints about the cost, soot and, of course, the deafening roar.
Yet the anniversary celebrations will be overshadowed for many Concorde enthusiasts by the disclosure that British Airways may betray a promise to put a Concorde on public display at Heathrow and instead cut it into pieces and ship it to the Gulf.
A Dubai-based consortium, advised by former BA Concorde crew, is planning to turn the aircraft into a tourist attraction, possibly on one of the manmade palm-shaped islands. It would be jointly marketed with the QE2, which was sold to Dubai last year to become a floating hotel.
The aircraft’s wings would have to be sliced off before it could be loaded on to a ship.
BA grounded its seven-strong Concorde fleet six years ago and gave six to museums. But it kept one, Alpha Bravo, and for the past six years hid it away behind the airline’s engineering base at the eastern end of Heathrow. Only those who know where to look will see the distinctive slender nose.
By contrast, an Air France Concorde stands proudly on a plinth outside the airline’s headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris. Another one is preserved at the Paris Air and Space Museum by former engineers who regularly run the electronic and hydraulic systems.
BA ordered in 2003 that Concorde’s systems should be disabled. Jock Lowe, the marque’s former chief pilot, accused the airline at the time of undermining efforts to operate heritage flights.
Despite making up to £20 million profit a year from Concorde during 27 years of commercial flights, BA is refusing to help any of the groups seeking to get the aircraft back in the air. It has repeatedly rejected requests to publish a feasibility study. BA claims it showed that it would be too expensive, but it will not share the figures with the Save Concorde Group, which believes it could raise sponsorship for a return to flight. A BA spokesman said: “It is an internal document and wasn’t intended to be shared. It has commercial information in it.”
The airline has also been distancing itself from Concorde in its branding. Two years ago, BA removed a model of Concorde from a roundabout on the approach road from the M4 to Heathrow where it had been for 16 years. It has been replaced with a model of an Emirates Airbus A380 superjumbo.
Ben Lord, of the Save Concorde Group, said: “Sending it to Dubai would be a kick in the teeth for Britain’s aviation heritage. Chopping off its wings and putting it on a ship would be the final insult.”
A source close to the Dubai consortium said it would spend several million pounds restoring the aircraft’s interior, much of which was removed and used as spares on other Concordes. He said: “If any Concorde was going to return to flight, Alpha Bravo would not be the one because it did not have the safety modifications made to others after the Paris crash in 2000. It would be very well taken care of in Dubai.”
BA admitted that it was considering removing Alpha Bravo from Heathrow, but refused to comment on its discussions with the Dubai consortium.
Once this story hit the headlines, Heritage Concorde’s Steve de Sausmarez, at once got to work to try and bring about an end to any chance of Alpha Bravo being moved to Dubai. We have only to look at the situation of the QE2 to see that the move would be a massive mistake. Save Concorde Group wanted her to go on display at Heathrow, which seems to be the most cost effected option to date. This move to Dubai now seems to have died a death, but in 2010 a move to Bahrain was talked about.
There as also been plan put forward by the UK based “Club Concorde”. They want to place her on display on a platform on the River Thames, near to the London Eye. We feel that this would be a massive mistake causing this Concorde nothing but problems, as in the case of Concorde Alpha Delta in New York; it would also involve cutting her wings off to make it possible to move her. I wouldn’t want to see this happen to another Concorde. Heritage Concorde has a plan to keep her at Heatrow Airport, and our plan involves amazing display for this beautiful bird
Concorde Alpha Bravo looks very good from a distance, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The interior is almost a bare shell… A lot of the interior was donated to Brooklands Museum in Surrey for the restoration of Concorde G-BBDG. Most of the cockpit dials have also been removed, and a lot of conjecture exists as to what exactly is inside G-BOAB. But Heritage Concorde has seen pictures taken during 2010 showing her to be in a horrendous state from magazines being used as ballast, to a problem with rat infestations. Her seats, carpets and overhead lockers have all gone; she is just showing bare metal inside and filled with rubbish. In reality, only the forward cabin interior was fitted into G-BBDG, so maybe one day the aft cabin of G-BOAB maybe restored, but the biggest challenge would be to actually find enough seats! BA sold and auctioned off all of their old and new seats.
But how did she end up in this state in the first place?
In truth, G-BOAB has not been suitable for visitors since mid 2002; it was due to get the return to flight modifications following the Paris crash. BA had plans for a full cabin upgrade to Concorde called ‘Project Rocket’ this interior upgrade had only been part completed to the five flying aircraft, (G-BOAC, G-BOAD, G-BOAE, G-BOAF, G-BOAG) essentially only new carpets and seats were fitted prior to return to flight in 2001, so BA thought why not use G-BOAB to test fit the rest, which included new vacuum toilets, new galleys, new lighting, new cabin wall fittings and new cabin info displays, so essentially a full cabin refit, that would last to the end of Concorde’s service life and the first since the 1990’s.
However, during the late summer, autumn of 2002, this test re-fit proved to be a tough task, new galleys were overweight, new toilet installations, which was always a little tricky with such a limited space, were even more problematic than was thought. In the end, the manpower assigned to Concorde G-BOAB for the test re-fits, was required for the day to day operations of Concorde, if seemed that the manufacturers clearly had a lot more work to carry out, so in late 2002, further work on “Project Rocket” was suspended. This happened at a time while Alpha Bravo’s interior was to put it mildly, in a real mess, due to the removal to allow the refit. Then with the rapid chain of events that followed in early 2003 causing the retirement a few years sooner than British Airways had expected, Alpha Bravo was left untouched, and that remains the situation to date.
As of 2011 her future remains unsure. It would truly be wonderful if you could offer your support to the Heritage Concorde in their fight to keep her in her rightful place, her home for nearly 27 years, Heathrow Airport, after all Alpha Bravo’s ownership had been “gifted” to BAA on condition that the aircraft remained at Heathrow.
The latest concerning this beautiful Concorde is that BA seems very interested in her future and has asked Heritage Concorde to forward their ideas and plans for a final home for Alpha Bravo. The only other plans for her would mean her being cut up in the same way that as with Concorde Alpha Alpha, so come on BA lets keep her at Heathrow, her home for over 30 years now, and uncut!
There were reports during 2011 in the London newspaper “The Metro” that “Club Concorde” was stating that their plan was a nearly done deal, that British Airways were backing their plan. But this does not seem to be what British Airways, the owners of this Concorde are stating to us. This was conformed to me by the Company Secretary, and Chairman of British Airways PLC!
Heritage Concorde will keep you up to date with the latest information, as it comes in concerning this Concorde.
Heritage Concorde also welcomes your comments concerning this Concorde’s condition!
Click on this link below to read about the aircraft details and history