Objective : To analyse the Anglo French Concorde project to design and build a supersonic airliner including detailed stakeholder analysis and the reasons behind the slippage and budget escalation
The Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a supersonic passenger airliner or supersonic transport (SST). It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and British Aircraft Corporation.Concorde’s maiden flight in March 1969 carried the hopes and aspirations of thousands of people who had contributed to the most ambitious technological project in Europe's history. Concorde service commenced in 1976 and continued for 27 years. It flew regular transatlantic flights from London Heathrow (British Airways) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (Air France) to New York JFK and Washington Dulles, flying these routes at record speeds, in less than half the time of other airliners. As a result of the aircrfat’s only crash (on 25 July 2000), influences due to the 9/11 attacks, and other factors, its operations ceased on 24 October 2003. The last "retirement" flight occurred on 26 November that year This Aircraft is famous on two counts: firstly, it is the only commercial, Supersonic Jet Powered Aircraft flying; second, it has proven to be commercially unsuccessful project. Technologically, the Concorde is brilliant. And yet, regardless of this undoubted brilliance, it has proven to be a commercial failure. The French & British engineers were then so blinded and in love with their own technological brilliance that they could not possibly concede that their brilliant conception was unlikely to ever be a commercially viable proposition.
Project Analysis :
Purpose of the project :In 1954 two crashes of the Comet, the world’s first jet airliner, shocked the British aircraft industry and left America supreme in first-generation big jets. The Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough, to its dismay, found the immense US military resources threatening its technical prestige in air development. In 1956 Sir George Edwards, head of Vickers, believing that airline passengers would always buy speed, argued that Britain should abandon subsonic planes.
The RAE too urged that the British should now pioneer the
world’s first supersonic commercial airliner and leapfrog the Americans. As a result the Eden government set up a Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee (STAC) to see whether supersonic transport (SST) was feasible. All the UK aircraft companies and government establishments and the Cranfield College of Aeronautics pooled their knowledge in STAC. The Treasury was not
In 1959 the STAC report1 proposed that the British aircraft
industry should start serious detailed design work on two new supersonic airliners. One was to be long-range, capable of carrying 150 passengers non-stop 3,500 miles between London and New
York at Mach 1.82 (1,200 mph); the other a slower medium-range plane carrying 100 passengers up to 1,500 miles at Mach 1.2 (800 mph). Any speed under Mach 2.0 would be able to use aluminium alloys for the structure. Cruising speeds of Mach 2.6 and above were thought possible, using titanium, but without military
support they would take too long to develop.
The cost of the long-haul version of the aircraft, including all research and development up to prototype completion, would be £75'' 95 million. The medium-range version would cost between £50 million and £80 million. The long-range version should aim to come into service in twelve years’ time. The STAC report summary3 talked about ‘a commercial venture of high promise’: it reckoned that by 1970 ‘a total demand for between 150 and 500 supersonic aircraft could arise’.4
But the government rejected a proposal based on the STAC
report. The project’s advocates were led by Aubrey Jones, Minister of Supply (the RAE’s parent department). In June 1959, as a strong Europhile, he suggested to the...
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