In Memoriam. Mike Sanders: 1943 – 2021

The Club is saddened to hear of the death on 2nd April of a long-time supporter and friend of the Club, Mike Sanders.  For one so closely involved with the development of Concorde it is apt that he was laid to rest on 9 April directly under Concorde’s flight path on final approach to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, that date also marking the 52nd anniversary of Concorde’s maiden flight,

Born on 1943 in Chipping Sodbury, England, Mike attended Filton Technical College and went on to join British Aerospace in 1963 where he stayed until 1979. Mike rose to the role of lead flight test engineer on the Concorde project, spending countless hours on board with pilot and good friend, Brian Trubshaw. Embarking on long months of route-proving around the world, his wife Sheila and children Paul and Julie would revel in the excitement of receiving postcards from Dad’s travels to far flung places they could then only relate to in an atlas.

Seconded by BAe to Airbus in Toulouse in 1979, Mike moved his family to France, driving from the UK on their adventure in Mike’s newly-acquired Citroen. After becoming a direct employee of Airbus, Mike spent months in the US and across Europe promoting the A320 aircraft family and ultimately sold the first A320 aircraft to a US lessor, namely GATX.  Shortly after GATX hired Mike to help them lease out those early A320s!

Following the sale of GATX to Macquarie, Mike spent time in the Dublin office (not everyone had one of those back then) and could never quite get used to his noisy neighbour – a certain upstart called Bono from U2.

In time Mike joined Kuwaiti-lessor, ALAFCO, once again based in Toulouse and continued to teach the leasing business to anyone who wanted to learn.

Adel A. Albanwan, CEO of ALAFCO commented “We at ALAFCO were fortunate to have Mike work with us for over thirteen years.  Mike was passionate about his job and the aviation industry.   He was a humble man and a good teacher and very well-liked and respected by everyone who worked with him.  In short, Mike was an encyclopedia of aviation. We will miss him personally and professionally.”

Latterly in his career, Mike consulted for several parties, including UK leisure airline, Founder and Executive Chairman, Philip Meeson, spent a lot of time with Mike discussing the industry and fleet plans and recalls that “Mike was incredibly experienced and very wise. He helped us in many negotiations, including with both Airbus and Boeing and was always calm under pressure and very good company. His contribution was always significant and remains very much appreciated”.