Please add your comments to this petition.

Thank you for taking the time to sign the "Save Concorde" petition.(Now closed)

The current situation is that Concorde (the five that British Airways are still flying, and two that are used for spares) is due to be retired on 24th October. Concorde has for many years been the epitome of aviation achievement, not only due to the engineering which even today remains unparalleled, but because it has spent so many years in active commercial service. It has stood the test of time so well, that even after the tragic accident in Paris, it still remains the safest aircraft on record, and has an active flying life of many more years remaining in its construction. Recent well-publicised additions have improved the safety further, and modifications made by British Airways have also extended the length of time Concorde can remain in the air.

The main reasons given for the decision to stop flying Concorde are that it has become uneconomical, Airbus (the company that supplies spare parts and holds the "type certificate" - the aircrafts' log book, if you will) have refused to support a flying example, and it cannot be sold due to the knowledge and expertise required to maintain the aircraft not being available to the buyer. Some also think that much of British Airways' reluctance to work towards keeping Concorde flying is that if they choose not to fly Concorde, no one else should be given the opportunity, as it would be embarrassing to admit others can make a profit from a commercial service of some kind.

Concorde may well be uneconomical for use as a commercial aircraft on a scheduled service, but many think that if they had the chance to fly on this national icon at a lower fare than the several thousand pounds it currently costs to cross the Atlantic, they would leap at the chance. Air France regularly ran a "Concorde Experience flight", a day trip chartered by Goodwood Travel, for a 90-minute flight around the Bay of Biscay. These flights proved very popular, and at around one thousand pounds including the flight to Paris and back, were in the reach of many more passengers than would otherwise be the case. Others have suggested that a commercial service may be difficult to maintain, and Concorde should be kept flying as a display aircraft. Well known figures in the UK aviation business have also offered more than a million pounds to set up a charitable trust to keep Concorde flying for this purpose. In today's economic climate, British Airways should be seen by their shareholders to make sound decisions and reduce the loss they will record when they scrap the aircraft. Further, British Airways has benefited greatly from the use of an aircraft that was developed and built using British tax payers money (Concorde has been one of the most profitable ventures for British Airways), and can be asked to recognise that the opportunity to keep Concorde flying is one that shouldn't be decided purely based on their own interests.

Airbus have been less than co-operative on this issue, but would listen hard should a lucrative customer like British Airways request they reconsider their opinion and release the necessary documents. The expertise and knowledge required to keep Concorde in the air are available, and the feasibility of a maintenance program to keep Concorde flying is not in question. As consumers, we cannot influence Airbus directly, but we can expect BA to do so on our behalf, by expressing our views when we choose which airline to fly.

In summary, please consider the following when you sign the petition. Concorde is a triumph of British achievement, and a symbol of how, when we apply ourselves, we can build a passenger aircraft to seat more than 100, and fly them in comfort at more than twice the speed of sound - 1,350 miles an hour. No other aircraft has been built that has flown so far, so quickly, in the history of mankind. To allow Concorde to be parked in a museum, when it has many more years flying life remaining, is a tragedy for our national pride.

Britain has many things to be proud of, but in today's society, not many things can invoke such pride regardless of age, gender, status, race, creed or colour. This aircraft is still unmatched, in a world where huge steps in technology happen so often. To retire it now would be the first time the "technology revolution" will have taken a huge step backwards, and it is we, the British, that can stop this happening.

The purpose of this petition is not intended to make us feel guilty if we have to fly with British Airways, but that we acknowledge we will spend a little extra time looking for an alternative when we travel. If an alternative is available, then we choose to fly with that other airline. If British Airways feel that enough passengers will look elsewhere, they can and will allow Concorde to remain a national icon. If you have ever seen an aircraft in flight at close quarters, you'll know that museum examples of the same aircraft really don't compare. Concorde is at her most impressive, her most amazing, her most inspiring, her most awesome, when she is in the air.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to sign the petition. Please do pass on this request to any family, friends, colleagues or associates you can think of, and with a little consumer opinion and the will to see Concorde fly, we can all be proud of our British success!

Mark Spencer