Britain and France celebrated the official dawn of supersonic travel Wednesday (21 January) with the first fare-paying passengers taking their seats in Concords.
CU Air France Concorde badge ZOOM OUT TO SV Hostess
GV Concorde check-in counter
GV Departure lounge
GV Air France Concorde taking off
SV Concorde bill-board at London Heathrow
GV, SV & TV Check-in counter (3 shots)
GV Concorde on tarmac
GV Concorde take off
Crew in cockpit (2 shots)
GV Scenes from window (2 shots)
Cu Mach counter showing twice speed of sound
SV Stewardess serving meal
CU Passenger talking .. "Well, we have had the host excellent super-sonic flight lunch, we couldn't be more comfortable and it's a most tremendous and very exciting experience."
SOUND IN: "Well we have had....
SOUND OUT: ...exciting experience."
Initials BB/0155 YA/AH/BB/0230
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Britain and France celebrated the official dawn of supersonic travel Wednesday (21 January) with the first fare-paying passengers taking their seats in Concords.
Twin models of the slender, droop-nosed jetliner took off from London and Paris simultaneously for inaugural flights to Rio de Janiero and Bahrain.
The champagne was chilled, the caviar readied and a large crowd of government ministers and other notables flocked to Heathrow and Charles do Gaulle airports for the takeoffs.
Amid the rejoicing, though, there was underlying awareness that the first trickle of passenger revenue did little to offset the more than 1,200-million pounds sterling spent on Concorde over the past 14 years by the British and French governments.
The British Airways Concorde which left London for Bahrain cut more than two hours off the normal jet flying time for the 3,500 mile route.
The Air France Concorde left Paris for Rio de Janeiro, a seven-hour flight with a one-hour refuelling halt in Dakar. This cut the flight-time by just under half that taken by subsonic jets.
Concorde could be an economic venture for airlines if they could average a passenger rate of over 65 per cent capacity ... at a fare of roughly 15 per cent higher than normal first class prices.
SYNOPSIS: Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris where the first fare-paying Concorde passengers were checking in for their first supersonic flight to Rio de Janeiro. The aircraft took off on time and slashed the flight duration of subsonic jets for the journey by a little less than half.
At London's Heathrow airport, meanwhile, the same story was taking place, with passengers checking in for their first supersonic flight. The Paris-Rio and London-Bahrain departures were planned to co-inside, to highlight the fact that Concorde was made possible only by the tremendous co-operation between the French and British governments ... a co-operation that cost to date some 1,2000-million pounds sterling. Amid the rejoicing of both French and British passengers and crew on the flights, however, was the underlying awareness that this first trickle of passengers could do little to offset the cost of Concorde.... a project that began some fourteen years ago. It is generally acknowledged that neither the Air France nor the British Airways routes to Bahrain and Rio could produce any real profits for the airlines. To make Concorde pay, access would be needed to the United States where there had been stubborn opposition so far to the aircraft's noise level...especially when travelling at twice the speed of sound...In the meantime, however, the passengers seemed to be happy.