Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde is a retired turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner or supersonic transport (SST). It is one of only two SSTs to have entered commercial service; the other was the Tupolev Tu-144. Concorde was jointly developed and produced by Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) under an Anglo-French treaty. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.
Among other destinations, Concorde flew regular transatlantic flights from London Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York JFK and Washington Dulles; it flew these routes in less than half the time of other airliners. With only 20 aircraft built, the development of Concorde was a substantial economic loss; Air France and British Airways also received considerable government subsidies to purchase them. Concorde was retired in 2003 due to a general downturn in the aviation industry after the type’s only crash in 2000, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and a decision by Airbus, the successor firm of Aérospatiale and BAC, to discontinue maintenance support.
A total of 20 aircraft were built in France and the United Kingdom; six of these were prototypes and development aircraft. Seven each were delivered to Air France and British Airways. Concorde’s name reflects the development agreement between the United Kingdom and France. In the UK, any or all of the type—unusually for an aircraft—are known simply as “Concorde”, without an article. The aircraft is regarded by many people as an aviation icon and an engineering marvel.