The new supersonic airliners

According to Bednarek, the airline historian, the future of flight needs to be focused on being energy efficient and less damaging to the environment, not on speed or size.

Well, OK, that’s your opinion. What does everyone else think?

Something we’ll find out when people can buy supersonic tickets again, isn’t it? Because what people want is the correct definition of “need”, right?

26 thoughts on “The new supersonic airliners”

  1. You could shave 2-3 hours off the London to New York flight time by (a) fixing the queues at airport security and (b) fixing the queues at immigration.

    Even when the queues are short, it’s still lost time because you’ve had to factor the possibility of long queues into your travel plans.

  2. Bigger aeroplanes *are* more energy efficient and less damaging to the environment because of increased efficiencies and the “mass production” effect.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ I think Concorde’s failure economically shows that efficiency beats speed.”

    Only when the same governments that invested in Concorde then emasculated it by passing regulations saying it couldn’t fly efficiently.

    PS. The planned state says hi, I’m glad to be back.

  4. I really can’t see where you’d actually need to be somewhere that fast, except for some very fancy fringe cases. And the “because we can” expensive excercise..

    Concorde may have had a use in a day and age before the internet and teleconferencing, but nowadays?

    A very expensive toy for people with too much money.

  5. The Meissen Bison

    Because what people want is the correct definition of “need”, right?

    Leaving aside the tortured language, no it’s not. Your espousal of carbon and Pigou taxes demonstrate that peoples’ wants can be tempered by prices and that their needs are another matter altogether. The phenomenon of the inverse demand curve, where demand rises in parallel with rising prices illustrates the point – as with the Irish potato famine in the 19th C

  6. I of course demand that airliners, like the rest of the universe, pander to my every whim. Though I’m not really worried about supersonic speed at present.

  7. People pay eye watering amounts to fly First Class (when you are allowed to fly). Clearly there are plenty of people with ‘too much money’.

    I would expect there will be a market for people who want the same high level of service and be able to get there a couple of hours faster.

    When I flew Concorde (a 40th birthday treat) it was full of people (including families with young children) who clearly used the service on a regular basis.

  8. Descending from the sublime to the ridiculous, I also flew on Concorde as a 40th treat. You were on a piece of highly advanced engineering, it went like the clappers, service was sublime and most importantly, IT WAS FUN.

    Excellent experience, do it again tomorrow if I could.

    So there.

  9. Grikath,

    “Concorde may have had a use in a day and age before the internet and teleconferencing, but nowadays?”

    I’m not sure that Concorde did then, because we didn’t see a growth in Concordes.

    One thing that I think people don’t grasp is that taking a chunk off travel isn’t that valuable, unless it saves you hotel stays. If a faster plane gets me into my hotel in Switzerland at 6pm instead of 7pm, I really don’t care much. I’m just going to sit at a bar for an hour or watching TV for an hour. I might pay £10-20 for it. Same with HS2. If you’re a Brummie businessman who has to see a client in London, you don’t care much that it’s 49 minutes instead of 84. You’ve blocked that day out to see that client anyway.

  10. @ Chris

    Descending from the sublime to the ridiculous, I also flew on Concorde as a 40th treat. You were on a piece of highly advanced engineering, it went like the clappers, service was sublime and most importantly, IT WAS FUN.

    Excellent experience, do it again tomorrow if I could.

    It was a sensational experience and I’d definitely fly it again – hell, I would have flown it again the day after the AF crash!

    They made a bit of a mix up though, they thought it was my 4th birthday and arranged a Concorde colouring book and pencils! I did get a visit to the flight deck while we were supersonic as a consolation prize.

  11. @BiC: “They made a bit of a mix up though, they thought it was my 4th birthday”

    Elsewhere on the plane a 4 year old was guzzling his free bottle of champagne thinking it was fizzy pop. 🙂

  12. Concorde is what you get when governments try to apply technology designed for one way trips to Moscow commercially.

  13. Smokescreen. The scummy Great Reset Marxist-run eco-freaks intend there to be no more mass flight or cars for plebs. First. Then all non-“Elite” in general. The Elite will fly in whatever manner they can manage –but not ord folks. And that includes all the middle class Marxist twats who think ord people can be put down but also think their soy-wank lifestyle will be safe for all eternity.

    I would hope that such developments as with all green Marxist bullshit would provoke mass rebellion. But since we have had 15 months of cowardly submission to obviously bogus lies-and mugs on here who fancy themselves thinkers are still spewing bogus numbers –I have far less hope than once I might have had.

  14. The Great Reset Marxist Scum don’t realise that mass pleb consumerism makes the Elite technology available in the first place. Air Travel full stop wouldn’t exist without the development of mass air travel making it feasible. Passenger rail wouldn’t exist without the expansion into mass passenger rail. Twice-baked avocado lattes wouldn’t exist without mass interbational trade. Get rid of the products the plebs use and there’s no products for the Elite.

  15. Our politicians don’t have the guts to allow fracking (which would massively benefit business by slashing energy costs). There is no prospect of supersonic airlines being allowed.

  16. I visited a section of Concorde at Duxford museum (I think it was there). Amazed by how small the seats were, even smaller than standard economy seats. I wouldn’t fancy a window seat and having some fat fucker crushing me against the wall, all for a four figure sum.

  17. There’s a whole Concirde at Duxford, with just a section of the cabin fitted out.

    The original configuration was to have been 128 seats. BA reduced it to 100. More legroom, elbow room unchanged.

  18. Shocked, I’m shocked I tell you…
    that the American version will be allowed to fly supersonic over America.

    Time and again, when America is out-performed they take their ball home.

    They wrecked the styling of the E type jag with bigger lamps so it wouldn’t sell over there too.

  19. Return to tradition: Zeppelins!

    @ Rob:

    Amazed by how small the seats were…

    There’s a whole one at Duxford and you’re right; it’s a pretty cramped cabin – even compared to a 737 or A320. Mind you, in the 70’s and 80’s there weren’t anything like as many fat f**kers as there are today…

  20. @jgh: “Bigger aeroplanes *are* more energy efficient …”

    That depends. Replacing a 100-seat plane with a 200-seat one may be a lot less efficient if only 89 of those seats are filled.

  21. My 40th birthday flight was in a hot air balloon —well, more float, drift, and bumpy descent really.

  22. Thought this video was interesting: was Concorde a Veblen good or not? That’s how it was sold, but it started really making money once they announced they were scrapping it and discounted the remaining journeys to around businesses class levels. It also covers a lot of issues touched on here, primarily “what is the actual value proposition of a supersonic passenger jet”.

    It’s an interesting thought experiment to think how Concorde might have done with a bit of market segmentation, for instance wider seats and expedited check-in/security/immigration in First, and the rest of the seats selling for “premium-business” instead of lying empty.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p0fRlCHYyg

  23. At the time*, Jumbos needed a good proportion of first class seats filled for profitability. But nobody will pay for an F-class seat when R-class is available on the same route. So airlines were faced with a choice between supersonic airliners and high-capacity ones – they chose the latter.

    * early 70s, when this was explained to me by the then Minister for Aviation

  24. If you make the decision to fly only to places served by Air New Zealand you get more leg room. (At least Back In My Day.)

    The last time we flew, on Whomever air, we found that not only was leg room poor so was shoulder room. (Belly room didn’t matter: the seat belts fitted perfectly well.) But we’re both broad shouldered so that was a bugger.

    What would be attractive would be an airline that guaranteed no children aboard and no oiks.

  25. Would the best market for supersonic jets be as private jets for ostentatious plutocrats who’ve become bored competing for the gaudiest yacht? And for companies, of course, so that the Chairman’s wife can be wafted quickly to New York?

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