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The BBC's Jonathan Charles
"They're focusing on the dispiriting task of recovering the bodies"
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The BBC's Tom Symonds
"Concorde's 30 year reputation is at stake"
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The BBC's Graham Satchell
"Scheduled flights in and out of Heathrow have been cancelled"
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The BBC's Simon Montague
"It had flown very little in comparison with most ordinary commercial airlines"
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Guy Norris of Flight International Magazine
"The inquiry will have to focus on the safety of the basic design"
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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 02:58 GMT 03:58 UK
BA to decide on Concorde flights
BA Concorde at Heathrow
BA must decide whether or not to resume Concorde services
British Airways officials have spent the night liaising with technical experts at Air France to decide whether to resume BA Concorde services.

The airline suspended its Concorde flights soon after one of the supersonic jets crashed after take-off from Paris on Tuesday afternoon, killing 113 people.

Senior BA managers cancelled two Concorde services - the BA003 from Heathrow to New York and the BA004 the other way - two hours after the disaster involving an Air France Concorde.

The company is due to issue a statement on Wednesday morning, indicating whether it intends to resume regular Concorde flights in the light of the crash.

We will be holding discussions with our technical counterparts at Air France

British Airways
The company said Tuesday's cancellations were "unprecedented" and said it would continue reviewing the safety of its seven-strong Concorde fleet as an investigation into the cause of the crash got under way in Paris.

Air France vice president Christopher Korenke has said all its five remaining planes would be grounded until further notice.

In a statement issued on Tuesday evening BA said: "We have complete confidence in our Concorde aircraft and our engineering.

"We will be holding discussions with our technical counterparts at Air France and reviewing tomorrow's operations overnight."

Passengers booked on the cancelled flights were offered transfers to other subsonic aircraft.

The BA statement said: "British Airways' first concern always is safety. All our aircraft are subject to continuing and exhaustive safety checks."

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleagues at Air France, and all those involved in this tragedy."

Mixed feelings

The 97 businessmen and holidaymakers due to fly on the cancelled flight to New York greeted BA's decision with a mixture of relief and annoyance.

The crash shattered Concorde's proud safety record
One shaken passenger said he had been "very apprehensive" about boarding the plane at Heathrow when BA grounded it just 30 minutes before take-off.

But Russian advertising executive Dimitri Kuroskov expressed frustration at missing a business meeting.

Mr Kuroskov, 32, from Moscow, said: "Concorde is double safe. What happens is going to happen. I'm going to miss my meeting, but I will sleep well on the [replacement] 747.

Internet executive Henrique Segura, 30, said: "The passenger wants to feel all the security measures possible have been taken care of and BA has done that. But Concorde is safe."

Japanese businessman Cyrus Tsui said he would never fly Concorde again.

BA staff at Heathrow, where BA's Concorde fleet is based, are said to be devastated by the crash.

'Engine fire'

Three British air accident investigators have travelled to France to assist the French authorities to investigate the crash.

A Civil Aviation Authority spokeswoman said it was "inappropriate" to take any action over UK Concordes until the French authorities reveal the findings of their investigations.

Eyewitnesses said they saw one of the Concorde's engines on fire before it crashed.

It emerged on Monday that "microscopic" cracks were detected on the wings of BA's Concorde fleet during maintenance checks - and Air France said it had detected cracks on four of its six Concordes.

But several aviation experts have said the cracks were a coincidence and could not be to blame for the crash, which appeared to be due to an engine failure.

A spokesman for Rolls-Royce, which developed the Olympus 593 engines along with the French firm Snecma, said: "We are establishing the facts of the incident and until then it would be premature to speculate about the cause."

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See also:

26 Jul 00 | Europe
Concorde black boxes found
25 Jul 00 | Europe
Concorde Paris crash kills 113
25 Jul 00 | UK
Q&A: Cracks in Concorde
25 Jul 00 | UK
Concorde 'still the safest'
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