Record-breaking Concorde floats down New York river on its way back to museum after lengthy repairs

14 March 2024, 12:35 | Updated: 14 March 2024, 12:48

Concorde passing through New York on way to museum after refurbishment
Concorde passing through New York on way to museum after refurbishment. Picture: getty

By StephenRigley

A British Airways Concorde floated up the East River on a barge to be returned to its museum home after a months-long refurbishment.

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After the supersonic flights were retired in 2003, one of the 17 jets that flew across the Atlantic was housed in the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan.

It has been a staple exhibit at the museum and allows visitors the opportunity to take-in the power of the aircraft and learn about its history.

Concorde passes through New York
Concorde passes through New York. Picture: alamy

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The museum said it was taken away for restoration in August last year, which included "removal of the aircraft's paint coating, sanding, and recoating, using the same colours and markings that made Concorde a true aviation legend".

On Wednesday, the refurbished jet was floated on a barge down the Hudson to Weeks Marine in New Jersey. Later on Thursday, the Concorde will make the rest of the journey back to the museum.

New York is home to the British Airways Concorde which holds the record for the fastest transatlantic crossing by a passenger aircraft, at 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds from London Heathrow to JFK airport in New York.

The Concorde was the only supersonic commercial jet that ever flew, boasting a top speed of 1,354mph. Flights were between three-and-a-half to four hours long. Today's large airliners fly at about 600mph, and a London to New York flight takes eight hours on average.

Concorde has set multiple records - including 'Westbound Around the World' and 'Eastbound Around the World' world air speed records.

The Intrepid Museum's British Airways Concorde rides on a barge down the East River in New York
The Intrepid Museum's British Airways Concorde rides on a barge down the East River in New York. Picture: Alamy

The plane was developed by British and French scientists from 1962 and had its first flight in 1969.

Commercial flights began in 1976. Its developers believed they'd receive orders for 350 Concordes, but soaring fuel costs meant just 20 of the planes were completed.British Airways and Air France were its primary operators.  

Concorde was taken out of service in 2003 because of high running costs. Since then, multiple attempts to develop a successor supersonic airliner have not borne fruit.  

Tours of the Concorde will resume on April 4, 2024, and visitors will be able to go inside the Concorde as they learn about its history.