Source AP ©

Pieces of defunct Concorde supersonic jet sold for 800,000 euro

Landing gear, air speed gauges, toilet seats and hundreds of other pieces of the defunct Concorde supersonic jet were sold for 800,000 EUR at an auction that finished in France on Monday.

That was more than three times the initial expectation of 250,000 EUR(US$337,000), said Melodie Susini, of Aerotheque, the group that organized the auction.

The money will go toward a planned park and museum in the southwestern city of Toulouse, home to plane maker Airbus and its predecessor company, which created the Concorde.

The first item to go among the 835 lots was a Concorde filling valve, which sold for 450 EUR(US$638), more than double expectations.

Two supersonic air speed indicators went for 29,000 EUR(US$41,200) and 26,000 EUR(US$37,000), more than 10 times the opening price. A 1.2-ton section of landing gear went for 26,000 EUR(US$37,000).

Even the toilet seats fared well, with one selling for 5,200 EUR(US$7,400).

About 800 aviation buffs participated in the auction, some by phone and online, the organizers said.

All the hundreds of items were given to Aerotheque for a symbolic 1 EUR when the Concorde was retired in 2003.

The Concorde's most coveted feature, its trademark needle nose, was not for sale this time. Three of them were auctioned in London and Paris in 2003 and 2004, one for more than US$500,000.

Once the ultimate symbol of jet-set glamour, the Concorde made its maiden voyage in 1969. The program, operated by Air France and British Airways, was discontinued in 2003 amid ballooning costs and sagging ticket sales after a crash in 2000 that killed 113 people.

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