The Last Concorde Comes Home to Bristol

By Holly Brockwell on at

British Airways' Alpha Foxtrot, the very last Concorde to be built, has arrived at its new home in Filton, Bristol, where it was made.

Also known as 216, the supersonic jet made its first flight in 1979 and its last in 2003. Since then, it's been resting beside the runway, expensively maintained by Airbus UK while it waits for its new home.

That home is the sparkling new Aerospace Bristol museum, opening this summer at a cost of £19m. The plane was painstakingly towed over the runway and up a ramp into its purpose-built new hangar, which had a wall taken out to allow the manoeuvre. With it back in place, there's just a one-metre gap between the wing tips and the walls.

The entire Concorde line was retired in 2003, since passenger numbers had dipped in general after 9/11 and Concorde's in particular fell after the notorious crash of 2000. However, with the instantly-recognisable plane being able to fly at twice the speed of sound, it's unlikely the legendary Concorde name will be forgotten any time soon.

Visitors to the new museum will be able to enter the plane, which has been restored to mint condition and will give would-be passengers an idea of what it must have been like for the elite to travel in.

Chairman of Aerospace Bristol Iain Gray comments:

"We couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Concorde 216 into her new purpose-built home at Aerospace Bristol. With such enthusiasm for Concorde in this country, and particularly in Bristol where she was designed, built and landed for the final time, it is only fitting that this magnificent aircraft should have a permanent home at Filton. I would like to thank all of our donors for helping to make Aerospace Bristol a reality and look forward to welcoming our first visitors on board this summer."

There's still £2m of funding needed for the new museum, with donations being taken now. The rest of the money has come from funding partners including BAE Systems, Airbus and Rolls-Royce, as well as - somewhat brilliantly - the Libor Fines Fund. At least that's done some good, eh? [Aerospace Bristol via CNET]

Photo: Concorde's last flight lands at Bristol Filton airfield. Ben Salter via Flickr Creative Commons