How do you bring an aircraft back from the dead?

A Boeing 307 Stratoliner, the first pressurized cabin passenger aircraft, and an Air France Concorde supersonic airliner, are seen at the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian National Air and Space Annex Museum in Chantilly
PHOTO: Reuters

On 26 November 2003, one of the more glamorous chapters in aviation history ended. This was the day the last Concorde flight took place, with one of British Airways' needle-nosed fleet touching down for the final time at Filton Airfield, near Bristol.

The end of the Concorde meant the public could no longer fly faster than the speed of sound (although, it must be said, this was only ever an option for passengers willing to pay a hefty price). Concorde was one of only two civilian aircraft capable of flying at supersonic speeds; the other was a physically similar Soviet design called the Tupolev Tu-144. In the 12 years since British Airways and Air France called time on Concorde operations (more than 25 years after the Tu-144's last passenger-carrying flight), no other aircraft have emerged to fill this faster-than-a-bullet gap.

This month, though, a consortium called Club Concorde announced that they have amassed £120m (S$260m) in funds to buy a mothballed Concorde and restore it to flying condition. They will also purchase a second to be installed as a tourist attraction near the London Eye.

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