Plane `lost' in media blackout

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The Independent Online
WITHOUT ANY trace of nerves, Captain David Stevens yesterday set the clocks and computers on a British Airways Airbus A320 to 11pm, 31 December, 1999. Carrying three BA directors and a brace of journalists, the plane rolled forwards along the Heathrow runway, took off and disappeared - into a media blackout.

It was imposed strangely enough by BA itself. The airline organised the flight to demonstrate that its airplanes will be millennium-proof and that when the clocks change on New Year's Eve, passengers - like the 11,385 people aboard last year around the world - will be safe.

BA didn't want to say whether everyone on board the one-hour trip to Nice and back, returned safely. Not until Wednesday.

The Independent enquired. `Did anything happen when the clocks hit midnight over France? Did it disappear into a Millennium Triangle?'

"We can't tell you," replied a BA spokeswoman.

"That wouldn't be fair on the journalists on the plane. They won't have time to write their stories."

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