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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 21:46 GMT 22:46 UK
Concorde makes last NY flight
The Concorde's afterburners tailed off into the night sky
The Concorde's afterburners tailed off into the night sky
Over 1,000 people gathered at Heathrow airport to watch Concorde roar into the night sky for its last commercial flight.

Its swansong journey to New York took around three and a half hours and it landed at 2244 BST, largely carrying avid enthusiasts of the plane.

The 9,000-per ticket plane reached 1,350MPH and 60,000ft over the Atlantic Ocean shortly after it took off at 1920 BST.

A trio of Concordes will land in quick succession at Heathrow airport at 1600 BST on Friday, 27 years after the first Concorde flew.

Thousands are expected to gather to watch the planes land and airport officials have ordered netting to be installed around the runway's perimeter to stop traffic grinding to a halt.

One of the planes will carry competition winners, BA staff and celebrities from Edinburgh, while another will be a round trip over the Atlantic from Heathrow.

Flight BA002, the return leg from New York, will be the final Concorde to land.

Emotional farewell

The day would be one of "mixed emotions" said Lord Colin Marshall, chairman of BA, the only airline apart from Air France to fly the Concorde.

Air France retired its planes at the end of May.

"Everyone has enormous pride in all that she has achieved but there is inevitable sadness that we have to move on and say farewell," Mr Marshall said.

"Concorde's magic has attracted millions of loyal fans who enjoy her unique blend of speed, grace and beauty.

"The decision to retire Concorde was a tough one, but it is the right thing to do at the right time."

Although it is not known yet exactly what will happen to the decommissioned planes, some will be given to museums.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani
"Thousands tried to get tickets"




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