PAL had plans to purchase 4 supersonic Concordes in 1973

Just imagine if Philippine Airlines were to fly the supersonic Concorde! Just imagine how fast it would fly from Manila to Sydney at speeds of mach 2.5 flying near the Stratosphere at 55,000ft! That was actually supposed to happen way back in 1971 when Aerospatiale and British Aircraft Company offered the supersonic jet to no less than Philippine Airlines! In fact, PAL had plans of purchasing 4 units of the Concorde until the oil crisis struck in 1973.

The Concorde was in Manila way back June 10, 1972 during a demonstration tour where it visited 12 countries and 14 airports. The sleek aircraft arrived from Singapore and stayed overnight in Manila.

The oil crisis in 1973 took a toll and Philippine Airlines instead decided to order the more economical and bigger DC-10 over the 4 Concordes it planned to purchase. The former can fly longer than the latter, and the latter consumes a lot of fuel. The DC-10 can fly non-stop to the United States and Europe from Manila whereas the Concorde can only fly non-stop to Sydney from Manila.

The Concorde sales pitch booklet presented to Philippine Airlines by Aerospatiale and British Aerospace 

The Concorde is also not allowed to go supersonic over land due to the sonic boom it creates after it breaks the sound barrier. It can only go supersonic once it was above water.

Then Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos revived the idea of purchasing the Concorde after PAL was taken back into government control. BAC wanted a sale of two units, but Marcos wanted landing rights in London Heathrow International Airport. The deal was abandoned in the face of the British refusal in giving landing rights, so instead, Marcos made massive orders of Boeing aircraft which included 747s.

Learning from the Concorde lessons, the British eventually agreed to give PAL its landing rights after some prodding from France after the Airbus A300 was being offered to the airline. The producers of the Concorde which was Aerospatiale - BAC later became part of a consortium of European aircraft manufacturers which formed Airbus.

Philippine Airlines operated 14 Airbus A300B4, Airbus's very first commercial aircraft.

Concorde arriving at Hong Kong after staying overnight in Manila. Getty Images.

Post a Comment


post-body img { width: 100%; height: auto }