The Concorde, which is on exhibition at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, in New York, is getting a respray.
The aircraft, sporting the British Airways livery, will be towed to a shipyard in Brooklyn, New York, the United States (US), to undergo “necessary maintenance”. According to the museum, the exhibit “will re-open to the public in Spring 2024”.
Eric Boehm, the Curator of Aviation and Aircraft restoration at the Intrepid, told The New York Times that the respray is needed to not only make it visually attractive “but to also protect it structurally”.
“New York is absolutely the worst environment to put an airplane on display,” Boehm explained, adding that the aircraft needs constant care due to the adverse weather conditions.
The former British Airways airframe, registered as G-BOAD, completed its last flight from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in November 2003, when it was transferred onto a barge to be placed near the WW2 aircraft carrier-turned-aviation museum USS Intrepid.
Speaking to Heritage Concorde, Boehm noted that the aircraft “usually takes more than half of [the] upkeep budget.”
“Will she end up in an enclosure someday? I can only say, yes… someday,” Boehm continued.
After much resistance, Concorde landed at JFK for the first time on October 19, 1977, more than a year after it had landed on its inaugural journey to the US in May 1976. Then, two Concordes, operated by Air France and British Airways, completed a simultaneous landing at Washington Dulles International Airport (IUD).
Eventually, after the crash at Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport (CDG) in July 2000, steadily falling revenue, and airworthiness concerns, both British Airways and Air France retired their Concordes in 2003.
At the time, British Airways justified that the decision was “made for commercial reasons with passenger revenue falling steadily against a backdrop of rising maintenance costs for the aircraft,” according to a press release from April 2003, as cited by ConcordeSST.
Air France, which announced the type’s retirement like its British counterpart, said that it saw “poor economic performance of the transatlantic route operated with Concorde over the last few months and especially since the beginning of the year”.