It was three and a half years in the making, but at last G-BOAE, the final Concorde to fly supersonically over the Atlantic, has opened for public tours at the Grantley Adams Airport in Barbados. All are welcome.
The Barbados Concorde Experience, as it has been named, has been developed to provide Barbadians and visitors alike with an educational and learning experience, not only about aviation history generally, but also about the role and development the Concorde played in shaping history during the 20th Century.
British Airways started their scheduled service to Barbados from London on December 12th 1987. And in late 1988, Concorde would fly from New York to Barbados over a four week period, making Barbados the only destination in the world to get Concorde services from both sides of the Atlantic.
Over the next 15 years, the airline would operate a weekly Saturday flight throughout the UK winter, when UK based celebrities and VIP’s would jet off in search of some winter sun. During Christmas and New Years three or four flights a week were not uncommon, either scheduled services or charters. One day has seen two British Airways and one Air France Concorde on the ramp at the same time! Later on the airline added a weekly service in the August peak holiday month. It is also a known fact that some passengers would fly to Barbados “for breakfast at Sandy Lane.”
Barbados played a large part in the success of British Airways’ Concorde services, adding significantly to the airline’s profits.
The last scheduled supersonic flight from Barbados was on August 30th, 2003 and passengers were sent off in grand style through a trumpeted guard of honor by the Royal Barbados Police Band.
Of the seven supersonic jets owned by British Airways, four will be kept in Britain, two in the United States and the final one, Alpha-Echo, in Barbados.
Alpha-Echo is housed in a 28,000 square foot temporary hanger at the airport. The Barbados Concorde Experience includes a number of multi-media shows, an in-flight experience, an events centre, a virtual flight school and a gift center.
Billy O'Dell is the owner of BarbadosBarbados.com, an online concierge to Barbados, and of Food Affairs, a popular Bajan catering service.