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Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK

Business: The Company File

A remarkable aircraft

Supersonic facts and figures
  • Since the first service from Heathrow to Bahrain on 21 January, 1976, British Airways' seven-strong fleet of Concordes have made 44,000 flights.

  • And clocked up more than 127,000 flying hours - more than 100,000 of them supersonically.

  • The fleet has travelled 127m miles - the equivalent of flying more than 4,000 times round the world.

  • Concorde's speed acts as an anti-ageing device.

  • The heat generated as the aircraft passes through the atmosphere at 1,350 miles an hour (faster than a bullet) ensures that any moisture which might otherwise affect the superstructure, is dried out.

  • More than 2m passengers have flown on the British Airways' flagship.

  • Cruising at 1,350mph - twice the speed of sound - a typical New York crossing takes little more than three and a half hours.

  • Great Britain and France started working separately towards a supersonic aircraft in 1956.

  • They were working along such similar lines that in 1962 they decided to develop it jointly.

  • This partnership led to 20 aircraft being built.

  • The first prototype flew from Toulouse, France, on 2 March, 1969.

  • The aircraft was subjected to 5,000 hours of testing by the time it was certificated for passenger flight - making it the most tested aircraft in aviation history.

  • George Harrison once gave a 15-minute recital in the Concorde Lounge in New York when his plane was delayed.

  • Paul McCartney once persuaded Concorde business travellers to join him for a mid-Atlantic singalong.

  • Many birds think Concorde is a goose, according to a two-year US study.

  • 350 pairs of old Concorde seats were sold in 1993 for charity. The top bid was for 3,000 from a Vietnamese dentist, who wanted them for his waiting room.

  • Barbara Harmer became the plane's first female pilot on 25 March, 1993.

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