18 Years Have Passed Since The Concorde Left The Skies

This Friday marked the 18th anniversary of the Concorde’s retirement from the skies. G-BOAF made its final flight from London to Bristol on this day, carrying only a small group of British Airways employees to mark the end of the supersonic era. Let’s look back.

A British Airways Concorde
G-BOAF was the last Concorde built and the last one to ever fly. Photo: Getty Images

End of an era

26th November 2003 will go down in aviation history as an important date. On this day, the last ever Concorde made its farewell flight, closing the curtain on decades of supersonic travel and reshaping the future of travel.

The last Concorde in service was G-BOAF, owned and operated by British Airways. The retirement of this aircraft was particularly significant since it was also the last Concorde ever made. On 26th November, the aircraft departed London Heathrow for one last special flight.

This flight didn’t have paying passengers onboard, that was BA’s New York JFK – London Heathrow service a month earlier. Instead, G-BOAF was flying to its retirement home (and place of birth) in Bristol, carrying 100 British Airways executives, pilots, cabin crew, and other key staff.

However, this wouldn’t be a straight service west to Bristol. Befitting the occasion, the Concorde made a lap of honor around the Bay of Biscay, even going supersonic over the Atlantic for a short while. After 90 minutes of spectacular views for those onboard and on the ground, G-BOAF landed one last time in Filton, Bristol, at 13:00 local time.

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Back at Bristol

After returning to its city of manufacture, G-BOAF began preparing for its future. After the Concorde’s retirement, museums and exhibits across the globe attempted to secure the original jets for displays. Given that these planes would never fly again, this would be their best use.

This is the route G-BOAF took, but it didn’t go too far. With Filton Airport is now closed, the space is home to the Aerospace Bristol, a new museum. Here is housed the last Concorde, allowing enthusiasts to get up close and admire a relic of the past. For those looking to make a quick trip, you might run into some enthusiasts this weekend!

While G-BOAF marked the end of the supersonic era for at least three decades, that doesn’t mean interest has died down. If anything, supersonic travel might be back on the cards.

Concepts to reality?

This summer, United shocked the industry by placing a massive order for up to 50 aircraft from Boom. The Overture is expected to come into service in 2029 and bring a return to the supersonic era, pending all design and regulatory clearances from regulators. For aviation enthusiasts across the board, from those too young to have flown the Concorde to those wishing to fly that fast again, Overture is looking like the most likely choice.

18 Years Have Passed Since The Concorde Left The Skies
United could be the first airline to operate supersonic aircraft to take to the skies in over 25 years. Photo: Boom Supersonic

What do you think about the past and future of supersonic travel? Did you ever travel on or see the Concorde? Let us know in the comments!