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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 16:06 GMT
Flying MP backs Concorde take-off
British Airways' last decommissioned Concorde passed the Houses of Parliament on a barge in April 2004.
Campaigners want to see Concorde take to the skies again
A Welsh MP has launched a parliamentary campaign to save Concorde.

Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Ípik, who holds a pilot's licence himself, is urging the UK Government to talk to aircraft and engine manufacturers and airlines.

He wants them to restore the supersonic plane to flying condition by 2007.

The Montgomeryshire MP has tabled an early day motion at Westminster hailing the formation of the Save Concorde Group.

Concorde made its last commercial flight in October 2003, ending 30 years of supersonic travel for British Airways and Air France passengers.

There were seven of the aircraft in the BA fleet, and most have now become museum exhibits.

Mr Ípik, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said the goal of the Save Concorde Group was quite simple.

Wouldn't it be great to see that absolutely fabulous delta wing in the air again?
Lembit Ípik MP

"Our objective is to get a Concorde back in the air by 21 January 2007 - exactly 31 years after the first commercial flight," said the MP.

The goal was not to restart a scheduled service he said, but to get one of the icon aircraft in use for air displaying at air shows and for research.

"We still have Lancasters from World War II flying. It can't be beyond the wit of engineers to get Concorde flying again.

British Aerospace, which is making the wings for the new Airbus super jumbo at its plant in Broughton in Deeside, and Rolls Royce are among those who would be asked for their help, added the MP.

"It's not my sole priority in politics, but I think I can find time to back this unique cause," said Mr Ípik.

Lembit Ípik MP
Lembit Ípik is a keen pilot

A keen follower of air pursuits, the MP has held a pilot's licence for 16 years and used to paraglide before an accident in 1998 left him seriously injured.

He has flown twice on Concorde, and says he would like to do so again.

The parliamentary campaign was now "taking off" but it would take a little while before it went "supersonic", he said.

"Wouldn't it be great to see that absolutely fabulous delta wing in the air again?"

Ben Lord of the Save Concorde Group said about 10-12 MPs had declared their support, and he hoped Airbus could be persuaded to talk to supporters.

Mr Lord said Concorde was the "people's plane", funded by taxpayers, and the public deserved to see the figures on how much it would cost to retain it.

In October, a 20,000 signature petition gathered by the Save Concorde Group was handed in at Downing Street and to Airbus, who maintained the aircraft at Filton, in Bristol.

Design tycoon Sir Terence Conran and singer Phil Collins are among supporters of the group.




SEE ALSO:
Save Concorde campaign steps up
26 Nov 04 |  Bristol/Somerset


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