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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Last Flight of the Concorde

Aired October 24, 2003 - 07:37   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, let's start by taking a look at the Concorde. I believe it is just a little -- there it is. And you're watching it just beginning its taxi at JFK Airport. It's the last flight, of course, from the Concorde. And our very own Richard Quest is on board, as well as a host of celebrities who are doing this final flight along with him.
Apparently they're serving lobster and champagne and lots of other fantastic breakfast foods this morning.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: No cheap peanuts on that flight, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: No peanuts on that flight. And a Diet Coke and that's all you get.

HEMMER: You ever seen these planes take off before?

O'BRIEN: Never.

HEMMER: I've never flown in one.

O'BRIEN: I've never seen one up close.

HEMMER: I've never had the privilege. They are truly remarkable things. If you go to Heathrow in London and you can sit there inside the terminal and watch these Concordes, these jets, take off. It is truly a spectacular sight. And you consider they fly at 50,000 feet, which is probably 15,000 feet higher than most commercial airlines. When you get at that altitude, you can see the earth literally on the horizon...

O'BRIEN: Right, the curve in it.

HEMMER: ... and the bending of the planet. It must be remarkable to be on board that. Wow.

O'BRIEN: But obviously lots of troubles for the Concorde. And not to mention the problems with accidents, the problems with finance, the problems with the economy. So obviously it seemed like a good time to bring the program to an end.

HEMMER: Look at that. Is that beautiful?

O'BRIEN: It's a beautiful -- a beautiful plane.

HEMMER: Wow. If you go back to Paris for the Air France crash of several years ago, that was the point at which so much attention was drawn to this. And people started asking the questions as to whether or not this is truly beneficial and affordable. It's very expensive and when you talk about the rich and famous flying on board, that's all you see on the Concorde. You've got to be rich and famous to afford it.

O'BRIEN: They're on board right now, along with Richard Quest.

HEMMER: That's exactly right. So as we go one more flight for the Concorde...

O'BRIEN: Perhaps a little history there.

HEMMER: That's exactly right. And you have to wonder now, you know, the next step in aviation, what is it? Does it look like the Concorde? Does it go better than the Concorde? We'll see.

O'BRIEN: We'll have to wait and see.

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