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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
BA prepares Concorde test flights
BA Concorde
BA hopes to attract customers back to Concorde
British Airways is to test fly its grounded Concorde jet in the "very near future".

The airline refused to give an exact date but hopes to fly the supersonic plane well before a planned resumption of its passenger service in September.


We aim to have passenger services flying again by late summer

BA spokesman
The fleet has been undergoing a 17m safety overhaul since last July's Air France crash, in which all 109 passengers and crew, as well as four people on the ground, died just outside Paris.

A British Airways spokesman said: "We aim to have passenger services flying again by late summer so obviously test flights would need to happen before that.

"They will be in the very near future, but I would rather not say whether it will be this week, next week, this month or whenever.

"There have been a number of preferred dates talked about but we have not had any confirmation of a specific date."

Air France Concorde
The doomed Air France Concorde
British Airways' seven Concordes are being fitted with Kevlar fuel tank liners - made of a rubber compound successfully used in military helicopters and Formula One cars - and new, tougher tyres.

A burst tyre caused last year's crash, flinging debris at a fuel tank and starting a catastrophic fire.

The results of the test flights 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."

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See also:

13 May 01 | Europe
Relatives accept Concorde cash
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