NEW YORK, Aug. 16 -- An Air France Concorde landed at New York's Kennedy Airport at 7:16 p.m. EDT (0016 GMT) Wednesday, shattering the around-the-world speed record for a passenger plane. The supersonic Anglo-French-built plane spanned the globe in 31 hours, 27 minutes and 49 seconds -- one hour, 21 minutes and 14 seconds faster than the previous record-holder, also an Air France Concorde, said flight organizer Don Pevsner. The plane made scheduled stops in France, Dubai, Bangkok, Guam, Honolulu and Acapulco. Timekeepers counted the hours, minutes and seconds from the moment the aircraft's wheels left the runway to the moment they touched down. The flight covered 25,252 statute miles (40,638 km) at a flying speed 1,114.5 mph (1,793.6 kph), Pevsner said. That pace, nearly twice the speed of sound, allowed the flight to beat the previous record of 32 hours, 49 minutes and 3 seconds set by another Concorde on Oct. 12-13, 1992, he said. The 99 passengers aboard the plane included Lt. Gen. Thomas Stafford, who went to the moon in Apollo 10 at a speed of 24,791 miles an hour. Before takeoff at Kennedy Airport on Tuesday morning, the former astronaut quipped, 'This is the slowest I've ever gone around the world.' The passengers, 48 of whom won a competition to be on the flight, noshed on caviar, champagne, and a selection of French wines during each leg of the flight. One passenger, Marty Dugger of Los Angeles, described the atmosphere as a 'supersonic party bus.'
He said the best moment of the trip was breaking the sound barrier. 'It was pretty cool,' he said. The Air France pilot, Capt. Michel Dupont, was less effusive after the grueling flight. 'We are going to celebrate by going to sleep in a bed,' he said. 'We didn't do anything special -- We are not race pilots, we are line pilots.' There are 13 Concordes in service, seven operated by British Airways and six by Air France. The plane was jointly developed by France's Aerospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation in the early 1970s, but the inaugural commercial flights were in January 1976. Air France's only scheduled Concorde flights are between Paris and New York.