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France

Concorde: a timeline

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-02-02

Ten years after a fiery Paris crash ended the dream of supersonic travel, a French court will try to determine who was to blame for the Concorde disaster that grounded three decades of aviation history.

Nov. 29, 1962: The French and British governments sign an agreement to jointly design and manufacture the first commercial supersonic jet. Research to that effect had begun as early as 1958.

March 2, 1969: After years of tests, the French-built 001 prototype Concorde makes its maiden flight, a 42-minute circle trajectory from the airport of Toulouse. British prototype 002 makes its maiden flight a month later.

Oct. 1, 1969: Concorde 001 breaks the sound barrier.

Jan. 21, 1976: British Airways begins its first regular Concorde service from London to Bahrain. Air France begins a service from Paris to Rio de Janeiro.

Nov. 22, 1977: After two years of legal wrangling, Concorde begins regular commercial flights to New York from London and Paris.

Nov. 1, 1980: British Airways terminates its Concorde service to Bahrain and Singapore due to lack of demand.

March 1985: Concorde breaks the speed record from London to Cape Town, covering the 6,000 miles in eight hours and eight minutes, three hours faster than a Boeing 747 in 1977. A final trans-Atlantic record, of 2 hours and 52 minutes, is set in 1996.

April 14, 1989: British air safety officials order checks on all the British Concorde fleet after one plane loses half its rudder over the Tasman Sea but lands safely. It is the first major incident in more than 20 years of flying.

July 25, 2000: An Air France Concorde crashes just after take-off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, killing all 109 on board and four people on the ground.

July 28, 2000: Air France suspends all Concorde flights until the end of the enquiry over the crash.

Jan. 5, 2001: France’s aviation investigative authority, the BEA, concludes that the crash was caused by a titanium “repair strip” that fell off a Continental Airlines flight and ripped the Concorde’s tires as it sped up on the runway. The burst tire sent debris flying into a fuel tank in the left wing, causing a fire and a loss of power.

Nov. 7, 2001: Concorde returns to service with transatlantic flights resuming from London and Paris.

Feb. 19, 2003: An Air France Concorde carrying 56 people to New York from Paris makes an emergency landing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after an engine malfunction.

Feb. 26, 2003: British Airways says it is reviewing the possible retirement of Concorde.

Oct. 24, 2003: British Airways runs its last commercial flight from New York to London with 100 celebrities, VIPs and reporters on board. Air France retired its fleet in May.

March 12, 2008: A French public prosecutor asks judges to bring manslaughter charges against US carrier Continental Airlines over the 2000 crash of Concorde.

Feb. 2, 2010: Manslaughter trial against Continental begins.
 

Date created : 2010-02-02

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