UAE eyes Boeing's Sonic Cruiser
The United Arab Emirates have shown interest in Boeing's Sonic Cruiser with Emirates airline chairman Ahmad Bn Said Al-Maktoum announcing Thursday he had planned a trip to the United States in July to assess the project.
"I will visit (Boeing's headquarters in) Seattle to assess the project, but it is still too early to say whether Emirates will choose to take an option on the plane", Sheikh Ahmad, also head of civil aviation in Dubai, was quoted by the Emirati daily Gulf News as saying.
Boeing announced in March that it would launch by the end of the decade a commercial plane called the Sonic Cruiser. With a maximum speed close to Mach 1, the new plane could save its transatlantic passengers up to 90 minutes on current commercial flights.
Emirates executives already went to Seattle in May to study the plane's capacities, aeronautical sources in Dubai said. Emirates' fast-expanding fleet currently comprises 37 planes, including two Boeing-777-300s, the world's longest plane.
Emirates is also a launch customer for the Airbus 380 superjumbo. Sheikh Ahmad said in April that the airline had "approximately four billion dollars worth of aircraft on order" and was aiming to have as many as 210 planes operational by 2010.
The massive increase was announced after Dubai's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum, forecast a six fold increase in tourism to the Gulf emirate within the next decade. ― (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)