Air France conducted a number of tests, including limited supersonic flight, of the refitted Concorde aircraft over the weekend in preparation for an application for the renewal of its airworthiness certificate, which could be made as soon as this week.
The Concorde has been grounded since the end of July 2000, following the fatal crash near Paris which killed all 109 passengers and crew and four people on the ground. The planes have undergone extensive refitting at Airbus Industrie facilities near Toulouse. In addition to strengthening the tires (an exploding tire was found to be the initial cause of the crash) the aircraft’s fuel tanks have been lined with a Kevlar compound similar to that used in bulletproof vests.
Before it can resume commercial service, each Concorde must be individually tested, and receive a new airworthiness certificate. British Airways, and Air France hope to see them back in service by the end of September.
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