A group of ex-Concorde pilots and other supporters says it has the financial backing to return one of the retired supersonic airliners to flight. Club Concorde says unidentified financial backers have committed almost $190 million U.S. to buy or lease an airframe and restore it to airworthy condition. In a separate arrangement, a single U.K. investor has committed about $60 million U.S. to buy a second aircraft for a permanent display on a stand in the Thames River in central London. “We have been overwhelmed by the amount of enthusiasm and people wanting to invest,” Club Concorde President Paul James said. “The support shows how much people still admire Concorde and want to see it flying again.”
The Concorde last flew in 2003, three years after an accident killed 113 people in Paris. British Airways, which operated the aircraft along with Air France, is determined to keep its Concordes on the ground but Club Concorde says there are two available in France and negotiations are underway to acquire them. The hope is to have the restored aircraft back in the air for 2019, the 50th anniversary of its first flight. Meanwhile, the group had already secured the $60 million U.S. for the static display plan. Tentative plans call for the aircraft to be put on a stand in the river at the foot of the London Eye. The group hopes to have the exhibit open in 2017.