Re: Concorde's other customers (There were none in the end!)

Date:         24 Nov 97 03:27:49 
From:         westin* (Stephen H. Westin)
Organization: Program of Computer Graphics -- Cornell University
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David Ecale <> writes:
> 	All 3 groups started working apace.  The Boeing project was
> cancelled when Boeing figured out that it would *never* recoup the
> development costs.

No, Boeing cancelled the 2707 when Congress cut funding. No one ever
assumed that development could be supported commercially. Lockheed,
Douglas, and Boeing all made proposals, and boeing got the contract.

> 	So, in retrospect, the Concorde & Tu144 were terrible
> financial disasters to those who produced them.  The only customers
> who bellied up to the bar in the end to purchase them were captive
> carriers of the respective governments who produced them.  The next try
> by the Europeans was the A300 Airbus.  This followed the lead of the
> B747 & created a (medium haul) cattle car.  It was a (still subsidised,
> but who isn't these days,) commercial success.

Well, I recall reading an estimate (in Aviation Week) that the 2707
would be *cheaper* to fly than a 747 by 1980; the capacity would still
be smaller (not by *that* much; the 2707 was designed to grow to 300
pax or more), but speed and savings in crew salaries would
compensate. The study assumed stable fuel prices, however, and we all
know that didn't happen. I suspect that crew salaries have also risen
far less than projected in 1970.

Concorde failed because of the "tenor of the times", as you put it:
new environmental concerns ranging to near-hysteria in some circles,
as well as bad times in the airline industry. It was also designed for
only transatlantic range, and overland routes were denied because of
sonic booms. One wonders what a longer-range, faster SST would do on,
say, an LAX-NRT route...

-Stephen H. Westin
Any information or opinions in this message are mine: they do not
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