Clip from a Barbados newspaper

Barbados’ new aviation museum, to permanently house the Concorde, will be constructed over the next year and a new company is being created to manage the facility.

“ It will take 12 to 14 months but it is going to be a site to parallel any aviation museum in the world,” said Minister of Tourism and International Transport Noel Lynch.

He was speaking yesterday at the Savannah Hotel where a formal sign-over of the Concorde aircraft to Barbados took place.

British Airways’ (BA’s) procurement manager for Concorde, Bryan Mitchell, signed on behalf of his company while Minister Lynch signed for the Government of Barbados, after he had been earlier presented at the airport with the Concorde’s technical log by Captain Mike Bannister.

The agreement signed yesterday between the Barbados Government and BA covers several areas and, among other things, speaks directly to care and maintenance of the aircraft.

BA’s manager for Barbados and the South Caribbean, Elvin Sealy, who played a lead role in ensuring that the local bid was successful, listed some of the criteria set out by his company. He said the aircraft must be maintained in good condition; it must be displayed with adequate public access, and marketing and promotion activities associated with the aircraft must be relevant to tourism and aviation.

“ The challenge for us Barbadians, and the authorities in particular, is to realise the enormous tourism marketing potential that this unique gift presents to Barbados,” said Sealy.

The museum, to be located east of the airport at the old Spencers Plantation, will be constructed as a two-phase project and will include a theatre, administration offices, a restaurant and a souvenir shop.

In the meantime, the Concorde will be housed in a temporary steel-frame tent before the permanent structure is completed.

Lynch said he was unable to provide the cost of the project, but several private sector contributions are expected to make the showpiece museum a reality. Construction magnate Sir Charles Williams was among those attending the formal welcome for the aircraft, along with Government, tourism and aviation officials.