The development programme was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, with 20 aircraft built. The costly development phase thus represented a substantial economic loss. Air France and British Airways were subsidised by their governments to buy the aircraft.
First flown in 1969, piloted by Andre Turcat, Concorde service commenced in 1976 and continued for 27 years. It flew regular transatlantic flights from London Heathrow (British Airways) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (Air France) to New York JFK and Washington Dulles, flying these routes at record speeds, in under half the time of other airliners. Concorde also set many other records, including the official FAI 'Westbound Around The World' and 'Eastbound Around the World' world air speed records.
As a result of the type's only crash on 25 July 2000, world economic effects arising from the 9/11 attacks, and other factors, operations ceased on 24 October 2003. The last 'retirement' flight occurred on 26 November that year.
Concorde remains an icon of aviation history, and has acquired an unusual nomenclature for an aircraft. In common usage in the United Kingdom, the type is known as 'Concorde' rather than 'the Concorde' or 'a Concorde'.