Concorde, the aircraft that has defined an era of air travel, arrives in Boston today for a farewell visit. British Airways supersonic flagship, which retires from commercial service on October 24, is scheduled to arrive Logan Airport at 6 p.m.
"We wanted to bring the aircraft here on a farewell flight to show our appreciation for Boston which is one of our most important gateways in North America," said David Noyes, British Airways executive vice-president, North America. "It's our way of expressing gratitude for a 52-year relationship with Boston that continues to grow."
Currently, British Airways operates three, year-round daily flights from Logan Airport to London-Heathrow, all with four classes of service, including completely flat beds in First Class and Club World. Back in 1951, British Airways - then BOAC - began serving Boston with one flight a week on a 43-seat Lockheed Constellation. Now , the three London departures represent more than 1,000 seats a day.
"British Airways has a long and successful relationship with Massport and we are honored that Logan was selected to be one of the few airports receiving a farewell call from Concorde," said Massport CEO Craig Coy. "The Concorde first came to Logan to open Terminal E in 1974 and it seems only fitting that one of the final flights is back to Boston to our newly modernized Terminal E."
More than 2.5 million passengers have flown Concorde since 1977 when daily New York-London flights were inaugurated. In the years since, the aircraft has built up a regular clientele of top corporate executives, the rich and famous and those who merely want to sample supersonic flight. The most frequent passenger, an oil company executive, has clocked almost 70 round-trip transatlantic flights a year.
The world's fastest commercial airliner, Concorde has always provided a breathtaking travel experience. It accelerates from a takeoff speed of 250 miles per hour to a cruising speed of 1,350 miles per hour and a cruising altitude of about 60,000 feet. From that altitude, almost 12 miles up, passengers get a view of the curvature of the earth usually reserved for astronauts.
A typical westbound flight takes about three and a half hours, compared with more than seven hours for an subsonic flight. On February 7 1996, Concorde made a New York-London crossing in a record two hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.