The Son of Concorde

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN SPARKS

BLUEPRINTS for a new supersonic jet to succeed Concorde are being drawn up by Airbus.

Early designs show it would carry 250 passengers - more than double its predecessor's capacity - and fly 150mph faster at 1,500mph.

Its speed would cut flights from London to New York to under three hours.

The new plane's range could also be extended to 6,500 miles, which would allow it to fly non-stop from London to Los Angeles in less than five hours.

The jet has been conceived by Toulouse-based Airbus's European Aeronautic Defence and Space subsidiary, EADS.

The working name for the multibillion pound project is the European Supersonic Research Programme, ESRP, and at present it is still in the 'on paper only' stage.

A team of research engineers has drawn preliminary sketches.

They show it will have four engines and will feature a mixture of metal and non-metallic parts to make it lighter size for size and more heat resistant than Concorde, which first flew in 1969.

The best estimates of when the first test plane might be built are between 2015 and 2020.

A spokesman for the ESRP said: 'At this early stage, we are focusing our attention on the plane's environmental aspects. …