Boeing may halt sonic cruiser project

11 November 2002

Boeing has shown it may abandon its sonic cruiser project by revealing it is offering airlines a slower, more fuel-efficient aircraft alongside the futuristic design, the Financial Times reported, citing Walt Gillette, programme manager for the sonic cruiser programme.

Gillette was quoted as telling the newspaper that Boeing is aiming to decide by the end of the year whether to go for speed or fuel efficiency in its proposed 250-seat airliner.

Gillette said the more conventional design, known internally at Boeing as the ""super-efficient airplane"", would replace the ageing and slow-selling 767.

It would fly no faster than current long-range aircraft, but would offer fuel savings of up to one-fifth over the 767. Gillette said it could enter service in 2008.

The ""super efficient aircraft"" would use some of the advances in technology and design and manufacturing processes developed for the sonic cruiser, the report said.

Gillette said, however, that the aircraft it is likely to be built from up to 80 pct of aluminium alloys in contrast to the 65 pct carbon fibre composites planned for the sonic cruiser.

The FT said Boeing has struggled to convince its customers to buy into its sonic cruiser concept, which envisaged an aircraft that would travel at 98 pct of the speed of sound, cutting journey times by up to one-fifth.

Share this story