Protest against Concorde to take place Saturday

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A Queens politician has called a rally for Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport to protest the impending return of flights by the supersonic Concorde jetliner.

Lew Simon, southwestern Queens Democratic leader and candidate for City Council, has asked demonstrators to show up at 3 p.m. in front of the British Airways terminal at JFK with signs proclaiming “No More Concordes.”

Simon’ spokesmen said that in case of rain, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had given demonstrators permission to hold the protest inside the BA terminal.

Opponents of the Concorde contend the supersonic jets are particularly noisy and disruptive to the thousands of Queens residents living near Kennedy Airport.

Flights by British Airways and Air France Concordes were halted slightly more than a year ago after an Air France Concorde crashed on takeoff at Charles De Gaulle International Airport, killing all 109 people aboard and four others on the ground.

“Our Concorde service will return sometime this fall, although we have yet to set a date,” said Jim Faulkner, a spokesman for Air France.

British Airways is also expected to resume Concorde flights about the same time.

The Concorde has been outfitted with different type tires as well as puncture-proof jet fuel tanks.

The exact cause of the crash has yet to be reported, although the plane struck debris on the runway during takeoff, damaging a tire and rupturing the fuel tank in a wing.

The Concorde has been in passenger service since 1976 but is used only by Air France and British Airways and serves only Transatlantic routes, cutting the seven-hour trip to London and Paris with a conventional jetliner by about half.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) has long called for an end to Concordes at JFK. He is the author of a congressional bill to ban such planes from the United States unless the plane can be brought to a Stage III noise decibel level. At the present time, all jetliners, with the exception of the Concorde, are required to operate at federally mandated Stage III noise levels.

Weiner said the Concorde also produces 4.5 times the amount of carbon monoxide as other jets during takeoffs and landings.

The Concorde carries 100 passengers and a round trip, one-day advance purchase ticket from JFK to London costs $12,284.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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