Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Saturday, 29 May 2010 14:32 UK

Work starts in 15m plan to get Concorde flying

Concorde completed its last commercial passenger flight in 2003

The engines on a French Concorde are to be examined as the first move in a £15m project aiming to get the supersonic passenger jet back in the air.

The Rolls Royce engines of the former Air France Concorde will undergo an initial examination to see what work needs to be done to start the engines.

Concorde was retired seven years ago, but it is hoped the jet could return to flight in a heritage capacity.

The tests by a French-British team will take place at an air museum near Paris.

The work at the Le Bourget Air and Space Museum is being done through a partnership between the British Save Concorde Group, SCG, and a French group Olympus 593.

'Critical date'

Vice-chairman of SCG Ben Lord said: "Today marks the most critical date in Concorde's history since she was retired almost seven years ago.

"Two members of our management team are in France this weekend to observe these amazing developments.

"SCG has always maintained that she could return to flight in a heritage capacity, and the findings of today will hopefully go an awfully long way to proving our point.

After today, we will know exactly what needs to be done with those four engines
Ben Lord, vice-chairman SCG

"This is just the beginning, but we are delighted and privileged to be working with a team of skilled Concorde engineers who both worked on the aircraft at British Airways and Air France."

The tests will first establish whether the engines can be safely started and whether the aircraft could complete a ground taxi.

Mr Lord said: "After today, we will know exactly what needs to be done with those four engines in order to take this to the next stage of engine test runs with an objective to hopefully perform a ground taxi."

It is hoped the jet will be able to fly as part of the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

Meanwhile, the trial over the Concorde crash that killed 113 people in Paris in 2000 ended on Friday after four months.

The Air France Concorde crashed soon after take-off, after hitting a metal strip from a Continental jet that had taken off earlier.

The French court said it would give a verdict on 6 December.

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