How DHL Used Concorde To Deliver Packages In Record Speed

The name Concorde often brings nostalgia for travelers that remember a time of supersonic commercial flights before the turn of the millennium. However, it wasn’t only passenger services that businesses performed with the plane. In 1996, delivery specialist DHL started using the turbojet to expand on its same-day delivery offerings.

Concorde Takeoff
DHL helped reduce delivery times by placing goods on Concorde aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Plenty of experience

DHL had been performing same-day services since 1977. However, Concorde helped it operate on a door-to-airport basis to more than 200 countries. It placed packages on flights heading to London, Paris, and connecting destinations throughout Europe. Altogether, these flights halved the time it took to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, with hours saved in the air, customers could swiftly get their goods.

Banking groups in London’s financial district particularly made use of this opportunity. Collections could be made at 15:30 in the city center before heading to Heathrow for the 17:30 flight to New York. Subsequently, the parcels would arrive in the United States 3.5 hours later at 16:00 local time.

British Airways Concorde
This Concorde project was useful for businesses trading between the US and Europe. Photo: Getty Images

A game-changing moment

DHL was proud to launch this ambitious program in the middle of the 1990s. In a press release, Brian Billings, former senior vice president of marketing and planning for DHL, shared that this service was introduced to help his enterprise gain an edge on its rivals.

“As some of our competitors have only entered the same-day business within the past year, DHL has a proven record of superior service and the experience that enables us to offer the most comprehensive service, both domestically and internationally,” Billings said.

“This ‘Same Day’ service expansion offers DHL customers the most flexible express transportation options for any type of shipment regardless of size or weight.”

Short-lived project

Even though Concorde was retired in 2003, DHL is still going strong as one of the world’s major delivery firms. Therefore, the company is still offering same-day options.

As one of the major shipping companies, DHL delivers over 1.3 billion parcels across the globe each year. Photo: DHL

The courier states that it will pick up a shipment of virtually any size or weight and get it to its destination within hours. It provides a “next flight out service” to more than 220 countries and territories. This tracked offering is available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

With businesses working on a new generation of supersonic travel, it will be interesting to see if delivery companies turn to these jets again by the time this decade is over. The demand for quick deliveries is increasing, with several retailers upping their speedy delivery options. Therefore, it won’t be a surprise to see the return of partnerships similar to the one DHL and Concorde had.

What are your thoughts on DHL’s deliveries with Concorde aircraft? Do you feel that other shipping companies should consider using supersonic travel in the future? Let us know what you think of these services in the comment section.