French Concorde to Attempt Round-the-World Record
PARIS (AP) _ A French Concorde supersonic jet will attempt a round-the-world record for a commercial jetliner on Monday as it commemorates the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in America.
The flight will carry 50 passengers, each paying about $23,800 - or $11.69 per minute - to wing them to Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic; Acapulco, Mexico; Honolulu; Guam; Bangkok, Thailand; Bahrain and back to Lisbon, the starting point.
The passengers, mostly Americans, were brought together by U.S. lawyer Donald Pevsner, president of the association Concorde Spirit Tours.
The Air France Concorde was scheduled to leave Lisbon at 8:00 a.m. Monday and return in 33 hours, 55 minutes, including 90-minute layovers at each stop. It was to touch down in Lisbon at 5:55 p.m. Tuesday after the 25,063-mile flight.
″This flight around the planet will be so fast that, for the participants on board, the sun will never set,″ an Air France statement said.
Passengers were invited to attend two performances during layovers, given by a mariachi band in Acapulco and Thai dancers in Bangkok, the statement said.
Dubbed Air France Flight 1492, the date of Columbus’ arrival on American shores, the plane will be in the air for 24 hours and 55 minutes, of which 24 hours and 10 minutes will be at supersonic speed, according to the statement.
The current round-the-world record for a commercial flight is 36 hours, 8 minutes going east to west as Monday’s flight will, and 45 hours, 25 minutes going west to east. Both records, set in 1988 and 1987 respectively, are held by Gulf Stream IV aircraft.
The Concorde to be used was the next to last to enter service with Air France, in May 1980. Only 16 of the supersonic luxury jetliners were ever made.