Officials at the French Museum of Air and Space at Le Bourget say their Concordes are not for sale, effectively quashing the recently unveiled plan to buy one of the airplanes and restore it to flying condition. “These two aircraft are part of the national heritage,” the Museum said in a news release on Monday. “As stated in the Heritage Code, they are inalienable and imprescriptible, as are the Mona Lisa or the Palace of Versailles. … The policy of the Air and Space Museum is not to maintain its aircraft in flying condition, to best protect these parts as some are unique. There is therefore no doubt, whatsoever, that the Museum of Air and Space Concorde will not be sold, regardless of the financial offer, nor will they fly again someday.” The Club Concorde, based in the U.K., says it is prepared to spend up to $190 million to restore a Concorde to flight.
Raising millions of dollars to fund the “return to flight” project is beside the point, according to Emmanuel Davidson, managing editor of Aviation-Pilote.com, a French aviation publication. The only Concordes still in France are those owned by the Air and Space museum, he said in an email to AVweb. “The bylaws of the museum are pretty clear about what is possible and what is not,” he wrote. “Once acquired by (or donated to) the Muse de l’Air et de l’Espace an exhibit (airframe or any other object) is to be preserved in display condition and is expressly prohibited from flying again. There are no provisions to allow the sale of any exhibit to private interests.” The Club Concorde says it also will look into buying the Concorde now on display at the Intrepid Museum in New York.