The crash of the concorde resulted in many deaths, but the crash was never caused by the concorde but by a plane that took off before it. Also airliners like the Boeing 737,747,and 777 have had accidents resulting in all deaths of the passengers and crew and was caused by the airplane, but are still in service today, so why are those airplanes still in service after the accidents and the concorde not in service after its accident that wasn't even caused by the concorde?
The crash was only one of the (albeit an important) reason for the grounding of Concorde. Actually, the aircraft was retired around three years after the crash. The main reason was that not enough people were flying it to keep it profitable.
The Concorde as a technological marvel, but it had a number of disadvantages:
- The aircraft was costly- The program cost over $3B and produced 20 aircraft, of which 14 were used in commercial service.
- Maintenance costs- The small number of aircraft and technological sophistication meant that the cost of spares was high and options limited.
- Operating costs- The Concorde consumed nearly three times per passenger fuel when compared to the Boeing 747-100. Still, the aircraft made operational profit due to the high cost of tickets.
- Recession- After 9/11 attacks exacerbated the global downturn in aviation due to recession, there was an enormous drop in first class air travel, on which Concorde was dependent on.
While announcing the retirement, British Airways cited
commercial reasons, with passenger revenue falling steadily against a backdrop of rising maintenance costs for the aircraft.
This podcast covers the topic pretty closely and is a great interview with one of the old pilots of the Concorde. From his accounts the Air France Concorde crash was the last straw that lead to its shut down but was not the only factor.
The Concorde itself was, in its prime, a very profitable airplane and made BA and Air France loads of money when they flew it. However the plane was extremely costly to operate. Due to its supersonic nature the air frame saw a great deal more fatigue than a subsonic plane and it became not only expensive but time consuming to maintain the aircraft. All the while regular jets got bigger while the Concorde did not. Consider that the plane had a 100 person capacity while jumbos kept getting bigger. In turn the smaller margins jumbos made per person were beginning to catch up to that of Concorde (for what it's worth it's a pretty old plane). Much of this lead to its demise. Along with that, the down turn in air travel after 2001 lead to a big passenger slump which did not help keep the very expensive and rapidly aging plane in the air.
On an interesting (and similar side note) check out the Boeing SST which was a similar plane that never made it to production for similar reasons.