Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pack Heathrow airport to watch the final flight of Concorde, following unprecedented interest in the aircraft’s retirement, it was revealed today.
Special grandstands will be built at the airport for enthusiasts and the public to watch Captain Mike Bannister land Concorde for the last time on a commercial flight.
BA has sent special invitations to people across the world to be on the final flight from New York to London on October 24.
The historic flight will be televised live in the UK and watched by huge numbers of people in London and the South East as the aircraft makes its final descent.
BA has been staging special events across North America in recent weeks which have attracted large crowds of people wanting to catch a glimpse of Concorde.
David Noyes, BA’s executive vice president in North America, said a special send-off was being planned at New York’s JFK airport for the final 7am flight later this month.
“From the reaction we have had over the past few weeks, it is clear people in the US feel affection for Concorde.”
Passengers have travelled from across the world to be on one of the final flights, BA said today.
One German couple flew to London, went on Concorde to New York and returned straight away on a subsonic flight.
BA is considering a plan to keep one of its seven Concordes flying for air shows and flypasts, and is expected to reach a decision soon.
The company is also looking at flying a Concorde to the United States on December 17 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first manned and powered flight.
An estimated 250,000 people intend to be at Heathrow to witness the final flight, industry sources said.
BA chairman Lord Marshall will be on the final flight but the airline said it was still waiting for replies to invitations it has sent to people across the world before finalising the passenger list.
A slide in passenger numbers and high maintenance costs have been blamed for the decision by BA and Air France to retire Concorde.