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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
'Concorde to fly by September'
BA Concorde
BA is spending 17m on safety improvements on its Concorde fleet
The supersonic jet Concorde is "on track" to fly again by September thanks to 17m safety improvements, according to British Airways.

New technology has been fitted to the first of the Concorde fleet, with new fuel tank linings and wiring strengthened on the undercarriage of Alpha Foxtrot.

The entire Concorde fleet was grounded since the Air France crash in Paris in July 2000, which killed 113 people.

The linings are made of a rubber compound successfully used in military helicopters and Formula One cars.


Tests are still being carried out - but we are on track for resumption of services hopefully later this summer

BA director of operations, Mike Street

Investigators believe the crash happened when a piece of metal on the runway punctured the plane's tyre.

It exploded, sending rubber debris hurtling against a fuel tank which ruptured, triggering a fire.

BA director of operations, Mike Street, said: "The successful completion of this element of the modification programme marks a significant milestone in our plans to return Concorde safely to service.

"Tests are still being carried out - but we are on track for resumption of services hopefully later this summer."


The Paris crash cost 113 lives

Alpha Foxtrot will undergo extensive tests to measure the effects of the liners on the fuel transfer systems and to verify the estimated increase in weight.

The results will be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority and its French equivalent with the aim of winning back certificates of air-worthiness suspended in the wake of the Paris crash.

A BA spokesman said: "We will not submit the aircraft to the certification authorities until we are absolutely certain it is safe.

"It will then be up to the government bodies to convince themselves that it is safe."

He said that the safety measures would cost 17m and that BA was confident customers would return.

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See also:

17 Apr 01 | Europe
Lawyers back Concorde cash deal
13 May 01 | Europe
Relatives accept Concorde cash
22 May 01 | UK
Concorde to fly 'by summer'
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