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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Concorde makes passenger flight
Concorde preparing for take-off
Commercial flights should resume next month
Concorde has made a passenger flight for the first time since being grounded after last year's Paris air crash.

A British Airways (BA) Concorde left Heathrow airport at 1030BST on Tuesday morning and headed out over the Atlantic to simulate its New York service.

The passengers on board were all members of BA's engineering staff, who were offered a place on the trip as a reward for the work they have carried out to make Concorde safe to fly again.


This was an opportunity to say thank you to the staff

British Airways
Nearly 100 staff were on board the three hour 20 minute "operational" flight which was chartered to test the aircraft's flight and ground procedures.

Last week the British and French aviation authorities agreed to return the airworthiness certificates for Concorde planes which have met agreed safety changes.

A BA spokeswoman said: "This was an opportunity to say thank you to the staff.

"All of today's passengers are engineers who have worked on Concorde."

New York flights

The Concorde fleets belonging to BA and Air France were grounded after one of the supersonic aircraft crashed near Paris in July 2000, killing 113 people.

Concorde
Concorde has been grounded since last year's fatal crash
Stronger tyres, bullet-proof fuel tank liners and armoured wiring have been installed to prevent a repeat of the disaster.

BA told BBC News Online it hoped to resume commercial Concorde passenger services next month following the completion of changes to one of its seven aircraft, Alpha Foxtrot.

London to New York will be the first route to be reinstated, but BA hopes to extend its schedule to include Barbados during the winter.

It has set the ticket prices, which now have to be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Air France plans to resume commercial Concorde services from November.


Return to the skies?

The investigation

The crash

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See also:

05 Sep 01 | Europe
Concorde to get flight approval
23 Jul 01 | UK
Autumn return for Concorde
23 Jul 01 | Talking Point
Can Concorde regain its status?
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