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The Concorde Saga

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR084Electronic Format: Rs. 400;
Courier (within India):Rs. 25 Extra
Business Strategy | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Strategy, Case Studies


Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 1976 - 2003
Organization : British Airways, Air France
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : France, UK
Industry : Airlines


A technical marvel, the Concorde was the only aircraft offering commercial supersonic travel to passengers. Designed and built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Concorde represented the dream of traveling faster than the speed of sound. The Concorde project was a collaboration between the governments of Britain and France and was launched with the expectation of revolutionizing air travel. In the initial stages, the project generated a lot of interest and Concorde received purchase orders from 16 major airlines by the late 1960s. However, as the drawbacks of flying these aircraft began to come to the fore, especially after the fuel crisis of the 1970s, most of the airlines backed away. Eventually, British Airways and Air France were the only airlines operating Concordes.

In 2003, British Airways and Air France decided to discontinue Concorde services and retire their fleet to aviation museums around the world. This decision was taken because of several problems that the airlines experienced in flying Concordes including, high noise levels, excessive fuel consumption, the advancing age of the fleet, safety issues (especially after an Air France Concorde crashed in 2000) and the declaration of maintenance partner Airbus that it would not support Concorde operations after October 2003. On 24th October 2003, the last Concorde flight landed at Heathrow, drawing to an end an era of supersonic aviation. The case examines the reasons for Concorde's inability to succeed at a commercial level, despite its technical superiority and discusses the important elements which determine the success of aircraft.


To understand the operation of a one-of-a-kind aircraft, that was technically superior to any other comparable product of its time

To examine the relationship between technical excellence and commercial success and how the presence of the former does not automatically guarantee the latter


  Page No.
The End of the Supersonic Era 1
Background 2
The Concorde Experience 5
The Problems With Concorde 6
The Crash and its Fallouts 7
Conclusion 8
Exhibits 10


Concorde, aircraft, commercial, supersonic, 1960, 1970, faster, speed of sound, collaboration, governments of Britain, France, revolutionizing, air travel, interest, Concorde, purchase orders, 16, major airlines, fuel crisis, 1970s, British Airways, Air France

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