When Air India nearly bought The Concorde


October24, 2003 is a day that upsets the whole of avgeeks around the globe. This particular day marks the end of, an engineering marvel that transcended all conventional notions of airline aviation. This was the day when, The Concorde flew its last commercial flight, out of JFK international to London.

Since its first flight in 1969, Concorde’s makers tried hard to grab potential customers from leading airlines around the world and incidentally Air India was one among them. Yes, when Air Indian was still under Tata Group, they were one of the best airlines operating at that time. In fact, she boasts herself as the first all-jet airliner in the world. To add sheen to her modern fleet, Air India considered buying 2-3 Concorde during mid 60s.

Image credits: www.concordesst.com

Unfortunately, company officials soon identified Concorde as a potential ‘money-guzzler’ and cancelled the buy, stealing Air India of an opportunity to operate a Concorde. “If the airline had bought the Concorde, A-I would have gone into the red several years ago,” an AI official later added.

However, the makers didn’t lose hope. They did a marathon 72,000km demo flight having stops at multiple nations, of which Mumbai too had a spot. The ‘bird-of-future’ touched India several times, but never on a commercial passenger flight. Most of the flights were chartered operating between Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Delhi at the time.

Concorde taking off from Mumbai International Airport                              credits to respective owners

Future of, what was hailed as the “future of aviation” soon turned troublesome. Operators soon realized the high maintenance and operational cost it incurred on the users, paving way for its early retirement. Even after a decade since its last commercial flight aviation enthusiasts around the world hope that Concorde will take up to the skies one day.

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