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Cape Company Aids Concorde Upgrade

  • Sunday, 11th November 2001
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

British Airways Concorde may fly a little further and faster today when it resumes passenger flights after a year-long grounding, thanks to technology supplied by a Western Cape company.

Aerodyne Aviation Technology (AAT), supplied carbon fibre components for the new bucket seats that British Airways has introduced on Concorde flights. The new seats are 20% lighter to offset the weight of safety improvements, and also means Concorde will save in fuel costs.

AAT is supplying carbon fibre for the seat, headrest, slide cover, armrest support and tray table on the aircraft. AAT also provides components for British Airways’ “”Club World”” seat, the first flat bed in business class. AAT was founded in 1983 and won its first BA Concorde contract in 1992. The company has also provided components for the Greensat Low Earth Orbit satellite.

All 12 Concordes in service, seven owned by British Airways and five by Air France, were taken out of service and their airworthiness certificates suspended after an Air France Concorde caught fire and crashed at Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris in July last year, killing all 109 passengers and crew on board and four people on the ground.

After months of testing and redesign, the Concordes’ airworthiness certificates were returned two months ago. In the meantime, British Airways announced it would be spending GBP600m on refurbishing all its aircraft, including Concorde. For Concorde, that has included removing the old interiors and seats and replacing them with a new bucket structure that tilts back into a cradle.

This week British Airways and Air France resumed passenger flights. Their first flights carried media, politicians and other guests and scheduled commercial flights will follow immediately afterwards.

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