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The supersonic Concorde was the first commercial passenger airliner capable of flying at the speed of sound. The plane opened up a whole new kind of international flight and was able to cross the Atlantic in record time.
The Concorde enjoyed much interest from many airlines in the 1960s. However, the Anglo-French consortium behind the aircraft built very few in the end.
Let's explore how many Concordes were built.
About the Concorde
The Concorde is a supersonic airliner and is one of the world's most famous and recognizable aircraft. The fame mainly comes from the supersonic capabilities of the Concorde. It is one of only two commercial aircraft capable of flying at supersonic speeds.
With a top speed of Mach 2.04 (1.354 mph or 2.180 km/h), the Concorde enabled much faster travel across the Atlantic ocean - its most common and popular route. It flew these routes in less than half the time of conventional airliners. With the Concorde, a trip from London to New York took just under three and a half hours. The Concord could carry between 92 and 128 passengers depending on the configuration.
When introduced into service on 21 January 1976 (and arguably to this day), the Concorde was a technological marvel featuring some iconic visual features. The prominent delta wing and droop nose give the aircraft a unique look. Four powerful Rolls-Royce Olympus / Snecma 593 turbojet engines with afterburners provided the speed. The Concorde was also the first airliner with analog fly-by-wire controls.
A British-French consortium stood for the development and construction of the supersonic airliner. The anglo-french consortium built the Concordes in two separate facilities: One in Toulouse, France, and one in Filton in the United Kingdom. All the Concordes were built between 1965 and 1979. The Concorde first flew on 2 March 1969.
Although the Concordes retired on 24 October 2003, all but two are still preserved at various locations today.
How Many Concordes Were Built?
More than a dozen airlines showed interest in the Concorde in the 1960s. Large operators like Pan Am, Qantas, and Japan Airlines expressed interest in purchasing the aircraft. Many airlines even ordered the Concorde, but many canceled them later.
There are several reasons why many airlines canceled their orders. First of all, the cost of developing the aircraft rose to more than six times the projected estimates. That meant a much higher price for the finished aircraft. Second, the inevitable sonic boom generated by the Concorde when it broke the sound barrier restricted traveling over land, as people would likely complain about the noise. Increasing competition from more fuel-efficient aircraft and the oil crisis in 1973 also made life difficult for the airlines flying the Concorde.
Only British Airways and Air France split the 14 production Concordes, acquiring seven each. Both airlines retired the Concorde in 2003. A British Airways Concorde performed the final commercial flight on 24 October 2003.
Where Are the Concordes Now?
Despite their retirement, most of the Concordes still exist. In fact, all but two Concordes are on display today across five different countries.
France and the United Kingdom host the most Concordes. The United Kingdom is home to seven Concordes, while France hosts six, including the very first prototype of the Concorde. The prototype served to prove the supersonic performance of the aircraft before engineers proceeded to design the pre-production models.
The United States has three Concordes on display at various museums around the country. One of them (registration G-BOAD) holds the record for the fastest Concorde transatlantic crossing from New York to London in 2 hours, 52 minutes, and 59 seconds.
Germany is home to a Concorde at Technik Museum Sinsheim, while Barbados hosts a single Concorde.
The iconic Concorde is widely known for its sleek design, afterburning engines, and supersonic capabilities. With a top speed of Mach 2.04 (1.354 mph or 2.180 km/h), it enabled faster Atlantic crossings when introduced in 1976.
Several airlines showed interest in buying the Concorde in the 1960s. But rising development costs, increasing competition from other aircraft, and the 1973 oil crisis led to waning interest and order cancellations.
The Concordes retired in 2003. However, all but two Concordes are today exhibited in museums around the world.
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